Pan-India BWA licence price up at Rs.2,353 crore

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) India Monday concluded five rounds of an auction of airwaves for broadband wireless access (BWA) services, with the provisional winning price for a nation-wide licence reaching Rs.2,353.18 crore.

The auction, which began Monday, saw the pan-India BWA licence price going up 34.5 percent from the Rs.1,750 crore base price fixed by the government.

The government’s provisional revenues from the sale of airwaves stood at Rs.4,706.36 crore.

The government expects Rs.15,000 crore ($3.2 billion) in revenue from the BWA auction.

‘I expect the competition will be very high for BWA…as competitive as 3G. I am expecting Rs.15,000 crore from the BWA auction,’ Communications Minister A. Raja said.

BWA spectrum is essential for rolling out Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) services enabling hand-held devices and laptops to access the Internet.

The spectrum will allow the companies to offer high-speed Internet access as well as Internet telephony and television services. It can also be used for voice and high-speed data services.

As many as 11 companies — Bharti Airtel, Reliance WiMax, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Augere Mauritius Limited, Infotel Broadband Services, Qualcomm, Spice Internet Service Provider, Tata Communications Internet Services, Tikona Digital Networks and Vodafone Essar — are participating in the BWA auction.

It is a simultaneous online auction for two slots in each of the country’s 22 service areas.

According to the latest information available on the department of telecommunications’ website, Delhi, Mumbai, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka each attracted the bid of Rs.232.96 crore.

The government has already allocated one block of 20 MHz of unpaired spectrum each to Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) in their respective service areas.

The two state-run firms will have to pay the winners’ price.

The successful bidders in this auction can use the assigned frequency for commercial purposes immediately after they get the spectrum, the DoT has said.

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