Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) has outbid 3G (third generation) services in terms of the number of applications received. The final tally — 11 bidders for BWA and 9 for 3G services.
On the final day of submitting applications, B.K. Modi’s Spice and Augere, a company floated by Sanjiv Ahuja, former CEO of Orange, were among the companies that submitted bids for BWA. Both of them do not operate in India. Infotel Broadband, another company that does not operate in India, will bid for BWA.
Other players in the race for BWA are Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Aircel, Tata Communications, Qualcomm, Tikona and Idea.
Videocon, Idea, STel and Aircel on Friday submitted bids for 3G services. Other players include Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices and Etisalat.
“We did not expect such a good response for BWA spectrum auction,” said an official of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). “What is interesting is that there are some independent companies that have submitted bids for BWA.”
“Roll out in BWA is going to be much easier and faster due to its reach. 3G is likely to be restricted to cities,” said R.S.P. Sinha, former chairman and managing director, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL).
Uninor and Local Loop (an Essar group company) are the only two GSM licence holders that have not submitted bids for 3G. CDMA player MTS also did not submit bids.
The government is selling three slot of spectrum across the nation with the exception of a few states where four slots will be on offer. There are two slots available for BWA. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and MTNL are two state-owned companies that provide BWA services.
The reserve price for pan-India spectrum has been fixed at Rs 3,500 crore. BWA reserve price is Rs 1,750 crore.