The government hopes to net around Rs.45,000 crore from the ongoing auctions to award radio frequency spectrum for third generation (3G) telecom services and for rolling out broadband wireless internet services, Communications Minister A Raja said on Tuesday.
"The auction of 3G and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum put together is likely to fetch Rs 44,000-45,000 crore for the government," Raja said on the sidelines of an event organised by an association of telecom operators.
This figure is much higher than the Rs 35,000 crore predicted by the government as revenue from these auctions.
At the end of the ninth day of the auction, which began April 9, the provisional winning price for a pan-India licence stood at Rs 6,354.23 crore, up 81.5 percent from Rs.3,500 crore reserve price fixed by the government.
On the tussle between state-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and its employees on the issue of divestment in the company, Raja said: "Telecom commission is going to deliberate on the issue (BSNL's IPO)."
BSNL, which had proposed disinvestment of 10 percent of its equity, has been unable to move forward due to stiff opposition from trade unions.
Recently, the Sam Pitroda committee had recommended 30 percent disinvestment in the company and a number of other changes, including outsourcing of some services.
The employees unions went on strike Tuesday but called it off once they were assured by the minister that plans for disinvestment in the telecom company will be referred to a group of ministers (GoM).
"The GoM (Group of Ministers) will look into the recommendations made by the Sam Pitroda committee," Raja said, adding he had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The prime minister set up the Pitroda panel with HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh and telecom secretary P J Thomas as members to review the functioning of the company and suggest ways to improve its financial health.