BWA auction ends, government reaps $8.5 bn

June 11th, 2010 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) The auction for government broadband wireless access (BWA) services ended Friday, swelling the government exchequer to Rs.38,543.31 crore (over $8.56 billion).
The pan-India license price stood be at Rs.12,847.77 crore (over $2.85 billion) at end of the 16-day auction in which 11 companies participated, according to official data released here.

The auction, which began May 24, saw the pan-India BWA licence price going up around 634 percent from the Rs.1,750 crore base price fixed by the government.

Friday saw the conclusion of 117 rounds of the auction of airwaves for BWA services. It was a simultaneous online auction for two slots in each of the country’s 22 service areas.

The government has already raised Rs.67,719 crore from 3G spectrum auction. The total revenue of the government from sale of spectrum for both 3G and BWA touched over Rs.1.06 lakh crore.

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

According to the latest information available on the website of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Mumbai and Delhi attracted the highest bids. Mumbai got bids of Rs.2,292.95 crore, while Delhi got bids worth Rs.2,241.02 crore.

The spectrum will allow 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.

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 - took part in the BWA auction.

The government has already allocated one block each of 20 MHz of unpaired spectrum 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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