Hyderabad: After getting bids worth almost Rs68,000 crore at the auction for high-speed third-generation (3G) mobile spectrum recently, the government expects to collect over Rs15,000 crore for the broadband wireless access (BWA) slots on offer, telecom minister A. Raja said.
As many as 11 companies are participating in the BWA spectrum auction, which will help firms offer worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) services.
Great expectations: A. Raja. Arvind Yadav/HT
The online auction for BWA spectrum covering the country’s 22 service areas was kicked off on Monday. The government has set Rs1,750 crore as the base price for a pan-India slot.
The firms participating in the auction include Bharti Airtel Ltd, Reliance WiMax, Idea Cellular Ltd, Qualcomm Inc., Spice Internet Service Provider Pvt. Ltd, Tata Communications Internet Services Ltd and Vodafone Essar Ltd.
“We expect that the competition will be very high for BWA, as competitive as 3G,” Raja said in Hyderabad on Monday. “We expect to get more than Rs15,000 crore towards licence fee.”
The government had earlier estimated Rs35,000 crore from the sale of both 3G and BWA with no separate estimates for BWA revenue . The auction of 3G alone, which concluded recently, fetched Rs67,719 crore.
The minister was talking to the reporters on the sidelines of the World Telecommunication Development Conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which was inaugurated on Monday.
Raja said wireless communication technologies had helped transform telecom growth globally in general and developing economies in particular. “We hope that wireless technologies would bring similar revolutionary growth for broadband services also and equally satisfactory results for all stakeholders,” he said.
Saying that the government did not receive any proposal from any quarter yet on extending the 3G auction, he said the ministry will consider this it gets any proposal.
The minister also said the Prime Minister’s Office and the ministry were reviewing the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommendations on 2G spectrum.