Jammu and Kashmir and Orissa attracted bidders for the first time Friday as India concluded 70 rounds of spectrum auction for third generation telecom services in the country. The provisional winning price for a nationwide licence reached Rs 7,599.08 crore (USD 1.71 billion).
The provisional winning price was 117.2 per cent higher than Rs 3,500 crore reserve price fixed by the government.
For the first 11 days of the auction, which began April 9, three states - Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa, Assam - could not attract even a single player.
On the 12th day of the auction Friday, Jammu and Kashmir managed to attract players for one slot against the four available, according to latest data available on the website of Department of Telecommunications.
For Orissa, the demand was equal to three available slots, but Assam once again could not attract even a single player.
Delhi remained the hot favourite amongst bidders, attracting the highest bid at Rs 1,030.72 crore, followed by Mumbai receiving a price of Rs 989.48 crore and Tamil Nadu at Rs 732.13 crore.
The 3G services will facilitate much faster connectivity than what is available now and enable applications such as Internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange.
Slots for three-four players are available in each of the 22 circles into which the country has been geographically divided for these services.
The government has already given Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) spectrum for 3G services on the condition that they will pay the same licence fee as would be levied on private players after the auction.
Along with the fee that will be eventually paid by the two state-run enterprises for the licences, the government will provisionally get at least Rs 30,755.72 crore (USD 6.9 billion) from the auction.
This is on the presumption that every available slot gets filled at the provisionally approved price.
The government hopes to rake in Rs 45,000-50,000 crore (USD 10.13 billion-USD 11.25 billion) from the ongoing auctions to award radio frequency spectrum for 3G telecom services and for rolling out broadband wireless internet services.
Nine telecom companies - Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Aircel, Etisalat, S Tel and Videocon Telecommunications - are participating in the online auction process.
It is a simultaneous auction for 22 circles over a secure website. At each round, the price is hiked from between 10-1 per cent based on demand.
The auction is being held from 9 am to 7.30 pm on all days, except Sundays and national holidays. The process will end only when the demand is equal to the number of slots available in each circle.
The bid data, including the winning companies' names, will be made public after the auction's completion and approval by the government. The winning firms will have to deposit the money within 10 days after the auction.
The successful bidders would be allowed to offer 3G services on a commercial basis from September 1.