The auction for 3G telephony seems to have entered the final phase with most of the circles, including Delhi and Mumbai, seeing either no or negative demand.
The auction, which entered its 16th day today, saw bid for all-India 3G telephony touch Rs 8,914 crore -- which assures the government of over Rs 36,000 crore in revenues.
Nine leading operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, RCom and Tatas, are in the fray to bag the spectrum. This, however, could not be ascertained that who all are in the final round of bids being conducted online.
According to information on the Department of Telecom's website, aggregate demand for Delhi, Mumbai and Maharashtra circles was two against three slots of spectrum on the block, meaning thereby the price may not go up further.
Although, as per the rules of auction, any operator can come back and bid for the above mentioned circles even if they have quit at some stage during the process.
Among individual circles, Mumbai's last bid stood at Rs 1,397.13 crore while that of Delhi was Rs 1,363 crore against the reserve price of Rs 320 crore for both service areas.
The government had estimated a revenue of Rs 35,000 crore from the sale of spectrum for both 3G as well as Broadband Wireless Access (BWA), for which the auction would begin two days after the 3G auction is through.
Telecom Minister A Raja had said yesterday that government's revenues may touch Rs 50,000-55,000 crore from auction of spectrum for both 3G and BWA.
On how long the auction could remain open, Raja had said: "Although it is difficult for anyone to forecast, but it seems now the true price could be discovered in another two-three days."
The successful bidders would be allotted air waves in September this year after the spectrum is vacated by the defence forces.