India Broadband Bids Reach Rs. 122.57 bln on 14th Day

Bids for one set of nationwide wireless broadband spectrum licences in India totalled 122.57 billion rupees ($2.6 billion) on Wednesday, in what is likely to be the last week of the auction. The current auction follows the one for third-generation (3G) spectrum that ended on May 19, after 34 days of bidding. That sale fetched 677 billion rupees in revenue for the Indian government. Eleven firms, including India's top three telecoms firms -- Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone Essar -- and U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc are bidding for broadband spectrum.

The auction started on May 24, with a base price for one set of all-India wireless broadband spectrum licences at 17.5 billion rupees. As of Wednesday, the auction had gone 110 rounds over 14 days. Two all-India broadband licences are on offer for private firms, while a third set has been reserved for state-run firms which would have to match the final bid prices. At the current bid prices, the government could get revenues worth about 368 billion rupees from the three sets of licences.