The government on Friday approved the provisional results for the 3G spectrum sale that fetched it a staggering Rs 67,719-crore (Rs 677.19 billion) bonanza, paving the way for starting the auction of the broadband wireless access airwaves from May 24.
According to official sources, a committee headed by Cabinet secretary KM Chandrasekhar, approved the 34-day long auction process, which concluded on May 19. Other members of the committee are finance secretary Ashok Chawla, telecom secretary PJ Thomas and Planning Commission member secretary Sudha Pillai.
With this, the 3G auction process comes to end and all the winners, including two telecom PSUs, have been asked to pay within 10 days from now. DoT officials said the last date for payment is May 31.
The auction for the BWA spectrum would now begin on Monday and 11 telecom companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, RCom, the Tatas and Qualcom are in the fray for two slots of spectrum.
The reserve price is Rs 1,750 crore (Rs 17.5 billion) for a pan-India BWA spectrum licence.
After experiencing success in 3G spectrum auction the government is now hopeful that the BWA auction would also bring higher revenue windfall. The government expected just Rs 35,000 crore (Rs 350 billion) from the sale of both 3G and BWA spectrum.
Apart from the above-mentioned players, Idea Cellular, Aircel, Augere Mauritius, Infotel Broadband Services, Internet Service Provider, Tata Communications Internet Services, Tikona Digital Networks and Vodafone Essar will also participate in the BWA auction.
Global investment bank Rothschild and telecom auction services provider Dot.econ are advising the government on the BWA auction.
The DoT says the aim of the auction is to award spectrum transparently and fairly to generate revenue for the public purse, ensuring effective competition and getting a market-determined price for the spectrum.