Bharti, Aircel, Tata Tele bag Karnataka licence

Rs 67,718-crore windfall for govt from 3G auction

Bharti, Aircel, Tata Tele bag Karnataka licence

The long-drawn-out auction process for the 3G mobile licence ended on Wednesday, making the government richer by Rs 67,718.95 crore.

The final bid amount is more than the Rs 35,000 crore Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had hoped to raise for a process that began 42 days ago on April 9, 2010.

“I calculated Rs 35,000 crore (revenue from 3G and Broadband Wireless Access spectrum sale) in the Budget. I’m getting Rs 67,000 crore, almost double. So, (I will get) that much elbow room,” a visibly happy Mukherjee said. The revenue mop-up will help the government cut its fiscal deficit to nearly 4.9 per cent from 5.5 per cent of the GDP projected in the Budget.

The overwhelming response to the 3G spectrum bid saw a pan-India licence value of Rs 16,750 crore. Of the two key circles, Delhi got the highest bid of Rs 3,316.93 crore followed by Rs 3,247.07 crore for Mumbai against the reserve price of Rs 320 crore for each.

In fact, these two circles together will contribute Rs 19,691 crore from three successful bidders—Bharti, Vodafone and Reliance—accounting for 38 per cent of the total all-India bid amount of Rs 50,968 crore from the private sector players.

Among all states, Karnataka attracted the highest bid value for a 3G licence at Rs 1,579.91 crore where Bharti, Aircel and Tata Tele were the successful bidders. Tamil Nadu (including Chennai) was in second position with a bid value of Rs 1,464.94 crore and Andhra Pradesh with Rs 1,373.14 crore.

Among the seven successful bidders, the Mittal-owned Bharti Airtel put in highest bid amount of Rs 12,295.46 crore for 13 circles. It concentrated on bigger circles like Delhi, Mumbai and some states but could not bag smaller circles like Kolkata, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (East).

Bharti was followed by Vodafone (Rs 11,617 crore for nine circles), Reliance (Rs 8,585.04 crore for 13 licences) and Aircel (Rs 6,499.96 crore for 13 circles). State-run BSNL and MTNL will have to pay Rs 16,750 crore for the 3G licence they have already obtained. The winners will have to pay 40 per cent of the bid amount within 10 days. Among the nine players that qualified for 3G bidding, two companies, Etisalat and Videocon, could not bag any circles.  

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