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Revenue from BWA auction at $5.3 bn, pan-India licence price at $1.7 bn

New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) The Indian government’s provisional revenue from the sale of airwaves for broadband wireless access (BWA) services Tuesday reached Rs.23,829.18 crore ($5.3 billion) and the pan-India licence price was Rs.7,943.06 crore ($1.7 billion).

India Tuesday concluded a total of 52 rounds of the auction of airwaves for BWA services.

The auction, which began last week, saw the pan-India BWA licence price going up around 350 percent from the Rs.1,750 crore base price fixed by the government.

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 Ltd, 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 website of the department of telecommunications (DoT), Delhi and Mumbai attracted the highest bid at Rs.1,172.96 crore.

The two circles along with Tamil Nadu attracted more players than the number of slots available.

However, 13 circles, including Rajasthan, Assam, northeast and Jammu and Kashmir could not attract enough bidders.

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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