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Happy with revenues from 3G auction: Raja

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) Union Communications Minister A. Raja Wednesday said the government is happy with the successful and timely completion of the auction of spectrum for third generation (3G) telecom services, which has fetched the exchequer Rs.67,718.95 crore ($15 billion).

‘The auction has done well beyond the government’s expectations. I am happy to see that there are more revenues than expected,’ Raja said.

The government had hoped to collect Rs.35,000 crore ($7.75 billion) after auctioning the airwaves for both 3G services and broadband.

The auction for broadband spectrum is to begin only Saturday, with the potential to fetch another $7.5 billion to the government.

‘I hope competition will be very high for the BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum bidding as well,’ the minister said.

The minister has been in controversies over the allocation of 2G telecom spectrum.

The opposition called it the mother of all scams that caused a $13 billion loss to the exchequer.

The controversy over the award of 2G spectrum dates back to 2008.

During that time, telecom licences and spectrum were awarded to new players on a first-come-first-served basis on price levels prevailing in 2001, without provisions to ensure that the companies do not dilute their shareholding.

However, the minister maintained that he had followed the same procedures as his predecessors had in terms of rules and procedures and that there was no deviation at all.

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