Bids for pan-India 3G spectrum inched closer to the Rs 10,000 crore mark, as telecom operators' renewed interest in metros led to the prices jumping at the end of the 18th day of auction on Friday.
At today's price of Rs 9,521 crore, the government would get Rs 38,452 crore as revenue against the Rs 35,000 crore it had estimated to collect from sale of spectrum for 3G and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) put together.
The circles of Delhi, Mumbai, Maharashtra and Gujarat, for which there was either no excess or negative demand in the last two days, saw fresh activity from the operators that resulted in increase in bid -- which would increase the overall cost for the winning bidder.
Mumbai continued to be on top with a bid of over Rs 1,506 crore followed by Delhi with Rs 1,459.96 crore against a reserve price of Rs 320 crore each for both circles.
Although the Department of Telecom (DoT) shifted the focus to smaller B and C category states, operators seem to be more focused on metros and A category circles.
On Friday, 104 rounds of auction were completed.
On Thursday, Telecom Minister A Raja had said that the auction of 3G spectrum is likely to be completed in the next one or two days but going by the trend today it seems the auction process may prolong for some more days.
Nine mobile telephony firms including Bharti, Vodafone, Reliance and Tatas are in the fray for 3-4 slots of 3G spectrum that allows subscribers to download hi-speed data and stream videos on mobile telephones. Radio waves are being auctioned across 22 circles.
Raja had also stated that the Government may garner around Rs 50,000-Rs 55,000 crore by selling 3G airwaves and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum.
The successful bidders would be allotted air waves in September after the spectrum is vacated by the defence forces.