India 2G auction raises nearly $10 billion
India’s 2G spectrum auction has raised nearly $10 billion in bids, with market leaders Bharti Airtel and Vodafone securing highly sought 900MHz band in the three major cities of Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata.
The bid total far exceeded the government’s target of $1.8 billion.
Reliance Industries secured airwaves in the 1800MHz band in 14 of the 22 telecom zones. The company claims the move gives them the “largest quantum of liberalised spectrum and with the longest residual spectrum life”.
“Reliance Jio’s seamless 4G services using FDD-LTE on 1800 MHz and TDD-LTE on 2300 MHz through an integrated ecosystem, aims to provide unparalleled high-quality access to innovative and empowering digital content, applications and services,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman and MD at Reliance Industries.
As well as helping to reduce the country’s deficit, the results of the auction could represent a turning point for the Indian telecoms market, following one of the worst cases of corruption in the country’s recent history. In February 2012, India’s Supreme Court cancelled 122 2G spectrum licences obtained in a 2008 auction wrought by scandal.
The government unsuccessfully tried to launch 2G spectrum auctions in November 2012 and March 2013, but bidders were put off by high prices.
Other successful bidders in the auction include Idea Cellular, Telenor and Aircel.