By Rupam Jain and Promit Mukherjee
| NEW DELHI/MUMBAI
NEW DELHI/MUMBAI India's telecoms spectrum auction raised 657.89 billion rupees ($9.9 billion) for the government after five days of bidding which ended on Thursday.The government sold 965 megahertz of the 2355 megahertz spectrum it had offered but still exceeded its budget estimate of raising 645.81 billion rupees of revenue from the auction.It expects to get about 320 billion rupees of the spectrum payments initially, Telecoms Minister Manoj Sinha told reporters, as carriers are allowed to pay in instalments. All seven carriers that participated in the auction bought spectrum, the minister said.
Separately, top mobile phone carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd said it bought spectrum worth 142.44 billion rupees, while No.3 Idea Cellular said it had bought spectrum worth 127.98 billion rupees.Vodafone's Indian unit and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd -- two other major carriers that participated in the auction -- did not immediately give details of their purchases.
The auction was India's biggest ever, with the total value of the spectrum being estimated at 5.6 trillion rupees based on the reserve price set by the government.However, two categories of spectrum, the 700 band and the 900 band, found no takers due to their high prices.
($1 = 66.7489 Indian rupees) (Writing and additional reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Elaine Hardcastle)
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