All the nine telecom companies, which had applied to participate in the auction of radio frequency spectrum for third generation (3G) telephony, have qualified for the bidding process that will take place next week.
According to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), all the nine telecom companies — Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Etisalat DB Telecom, Idea Cellular, Reliance Telecom, S Tel, Tata Teleservices, Videocon Telecommunications and Vodafone Essar — will participate in the auction for 3G.
Third generation telecom services allow faster connectivity than what is available now, and will enable applications such as Internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange.
Information available on the DOT website also show that 11 companies — Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Augere Mauritius Limited, Infotel Broadband Services, Qualcomm, Reliance WiMax, Spice Internet Service Provider, Tata Communications Internet Services, Tikona Digital Networks and Vodafone Essar — have qualified to bid for broadband wireless access (BWA) services.
According to the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) issued Feb 25, 2010, of the 22 telecom circles, five states – Punjab, Bihar, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir – will have four private players for 3G spectrum auction.
Other circles, including four metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai – will have three private players.
The number of slots up for auction excludes those allotted to state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, which were allotted licences last year and have since started offering 3G services in their operating circles.
The government has set Rs.3,500 crore as the base price for one 3G slot and Rs.1,750 crore for a BWA slot.
The government hopes to garner Rs.35,000 crore ($7.7 billion) from the auction.
The auction for 3G spectrum will begin April 9 and the services will start Sep 1.
For broadband services, the auction will begin two days after the process concludes for 3G spectrum.
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