Nine telecom companies apply for 3G (lead)

March 19th, 2010 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Nine telecom operators, including market leaders Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications, have applied to participate in the auction of radio frequency spectrum for third generation (3G) telephony.
“Nine companies have applied for 3G,” a department of telecommunications (DoT) official said here Friday, the last day for submitting applications.

While Bharti, Reliance, Tata Teleservices, Vodafone and Etisalat DB had submitted their applications for the 3G spectrum Thursday, Aircel, Idea, Essar, Videocon and S Tel, a joint venture between Chennai-based Shiva Group and Bahrain Telecom, applied Friday.

For broadband wireless access (BWA) services, the department has received applications from 11 companies — Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Augere Mauritius Limited, Infotel Broadband Services, Qualcomm, Reliance WiMax, Spice Internet Service Provider, Tata Communications Internet Services, Tikona Digital Networks and Vodafone Essar.

Uninor, a joint venture between Norway’s Telenor and Unitech Wireless in India, said it will not bid for 3G spectrum as the company has not even received the 2G spectrum that it had paid for.

Third generation telecom services allow faster connectivity than what is available now, and will enable applications such as Internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange.

According to the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) issued Feb 25, of the 22 telecom circles, five states - Punjab, Bihar, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir - will have four private players for 3G spectrum auction.

Other circles, including four metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai - will have three private players.

The number of slots up for auction excludes those allotted to state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd., which were allotted licences last year and have since started offering 3G services in their operating circles.

The government has set Rs.3,500 crore as the base price for one slot for 3G and Rs. 1,750 crore for BWA.

The government hopes to garner Rs.35,000 crore ($7.7 billion) from the auction.

The auction for 3G spectrum will begin April 9 and the services will start from Sept 1.

For broadband services, the auction will begin two days after the process concludes for 3G spectrum.

– Indo-Asian News Service

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