India’s wireless broadband spectrum auction gets underway

25 May 2010

Hot on the heels of the completion of the country’s long-delayed 3G auction, the Indian government has announced that the sale of wireless broadband spectrum has commenced. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, eleven companies received permission to bid in the sale process in March 2010: Tikona Digital, Qualcomm, Tata Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Spice Communications, Augere, HFC Infotel and Reliance Communications (RCOM). Of those the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has previously confirmed that Qualcomm and HFCL would bid for pan-India WiMAX spectrum, while Augere, Tikona Digital and Spice Communications will only apply for certain regions. The bidders will compete for two blocks of wireless broadband spectrum of 20MHz each in the 2.3GHz band.

The state expects the sale to raise up to INR150 billion (USD3.2 billion), after the auction of 3G spectrum which was completed last week generated more than INR500 billion from the nine winning private bidders. Under the terms of the bidding process the reserve price for a pan-India block of BWA spectrum set at INR17.5 billion, and at the end of the first day of bidding the DoT revealed that it had received bids totalling INR23.5 billion.