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Section : Economics
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Airwaves auction off to strong start, bids near $10 billion
 
allocations in four different spectrum bands in an auction that the government reckons could raise $13.3 billion.

By Reuters




Telecommunication towers are pictured through hanging flower pots at a residential building in Kolkata December 11, 2012.  REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

Telecommunication towers are pictured through hanging flower pots at a residential building in Kolkata December 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

(Reuters) - India's latest auction of radio wave frequencies for telecoms networks got off to strong start on Wednesday, with the government receiving bids worth about 617 billion rupees ($9.9 billion), according to bidding data. bit.ly/1B6SANL

Market leaders Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Group Plc's local unit are among eight companies bidding to win the 20-year allocations in four different spectrum bands in an auction that the government reckons could raise $13.3 billion.

Data released by the Department of Telecommunications after six rounds of bidding on the first day of the auction showed strong interest in the premium 900 megahertz band, which is currently being used for voice services but can also carry high-speed 3G data and has more reach than the higher-frequency, higher-capacity 1800 and 2100 MHz bands on offer.

The auction could take days or even weeks depending on bidding intensity. The government will not disclose company-specific bids until the auction is over.

($1 = 62.3292 rupees)

(Reporting by Aman Shah in Mumbai; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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