Heavy bids seen at spectrum auction

In what could be one of world’s biggest such auctions over the past few years, the Centre hopes to net revenues of nearly $8 billion from 3G and a near simultaneous auction of broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum.

The 3G auction starts from April 9 and two days after it closes, the BWA spectrum auction will begin. India’s top six private telecoms operators are bidding for 3G spectrum across all 22 zones, while three others including Etisalat’s Indian telecom venture will bid in select zones. Due to limited number of slots for 3G — three each in most of India’s 22 telecoms zones and four in some — and high competition for scarce spectrum, analysts expect each winning bid to be more than $1 billion for a pan-India licence, or even touch $2 billion, compared with a base price of $780 million.

Flat growth

Meanwhile, India’s mobile handset market remained flat in 2009, registering sales of 101.54 million units, mainly due to lower sales in first six months, research firm IDC India said. The market showed signs of revival in the fourth quarter of 2009 with a year-on-year growth of 2.3 per cent to touch 28.36 million units. The number of new vendors grew to 28 and together garnered 17.5 per cent of total sales during the October-December 2009 quarter, IDC India, in its Quarterly Mobile Handsets Tracker said.

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