The big names of Indian telecom – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance, Tata Teleservices and Idea emerged among key zonal winners for 3G wireless spectrum on Wednesday as the 34-day auctions ended with whopping offer amounts that far exceeded government expectations.
The government will earn as much as Rs 16,750.5 crore per pan-India slot in the round in which S Tel and Aircel are among other winners with Videocon being the only one that did not click anywhere.
3G spectrum is used to provide high speed data and video services such as mobile TV, and video calling, but industry officials say the same spectrum will be used to feed a voracious hunger for plain voice calls.
Bharti, Reliance, and Vodafone are winners for Delhi and Mumbai, the most sought after circles. Delhi attracted the highest bid at Rs 3316.93 crore followed by Mumbai at Rs 3247.07 crore.
Though the bids are high, experts say consumers may not suffer.
“It will not have any impact on 3G tariffs. The intent of all the operators will be to increase the penetration of 3G. If it is expensive there will be slow migration, which is not good for them,” said Ashish Dasil, partner at Ernst and Young.
“It is unlikely to have any impact on tariff because the price the companies are paying for spectrum is for 20 years,” said B K Syngal, former chairman VSNL.
But Ravi Sharma, an industry official, said business will not be viable at current tariffs.