India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has announced that its auction for wireless broadband spectrum has come to an end, and unlike the recently completed 3G auction one company has walked away with a pan-India concession. According to the regulator, Infotel Broadband Services won Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) licences for all 22 of India’s telecoms circles, paying INR128.48 billion (USD2.74 billion). Mobile network operator Aircel bagged the next largest number of BWA licences, eight, for a total of INR34.38 billion, with Tikona Digital Networks paying INR10.58 billion for five licences. Rounding out the winners were US-based chipmaker Qualcomm and India’s largest cellco by subscribers Bharti Airtel, with four licences apiece, costing INR49.13 billion and INR33.14 billion respectively, and Augere, which claimed just one concession for INR1.25 billion.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, eleven companies took part in the auction process, and among those that lost out were Indian players Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular and Tata Communications.
Having now completed both of the 3G and BWA auctions the government has raised in excess of INR1 trillion, including the monies that are due to be paid by state-owned operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), more than three times the INR350 billion predicted by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget speech in February 2010.