UPDATE: Deadline for Indian spectrum auction applications

19 October 2012 |


Indian mobile operators are today due to submit their applications to bid in the country's upcoming 2G spectrum auction.

The auction, which begins on November 12, comes as the result of a Supreme Court decision in February to cancel 122 2G licences in the country awarded as a result of a flawed 2008 auction process.

UPDATE: Russia's Sistema will not participate in the auction. The operator will continue to dispute the cancellation of its licences in court, having deemed the recommended spectrum price unviable. Considering the company has invested $3 billion in India analysts speculate that it may be pursuing another deal. Sistema was recently speculated to be considering an investment in rival operator Aircel.

UPDATE: Telenor has now confirmed that it has submitted an application for the auction. The Nordic carrier said that it would make a final decision on participating before the auction starts.

"Telenor Group continues its efforts in securing a new Indian partner and in obtaining all necessary approvals to transfer Uninor assets into the new company," Telenor also added in the online statement.

UPDATE: Number two player Vodafone India and Tata Teleservices will also submit applications, according to Reuters. Vodafone like Bharti Airtel is not affected by the court order and would look to acquire additional spectrum.

Tata will lose 800MHz CDMA licences in three circles due to the court decision and is looking to rebid for them, according to the news wire.


Unconfirmed reports from Reuters suggest that the country’s fourth ranked mobile operator Idea Cellular will bid in the auction to restore its nationwide footprint. Seven of the operator’s licences were affected by the Supreme Court decision.

India’s number one mobile operator, Bharti Airtel, is also set to bid, according to company sources speaking to Reuters.

Although none of Bharti’s licences were affected by the court decision, the operator would likely be looking to improve its service with additional spectrum.

In the build up to the auction there were alsorumours that Reliance Industries, headed by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, would bid for 2G spectrum to complement the nationwide 4G broadband spectrum owned by its subsidiary Infotel Broadband with voice and text services. This did not happen but it is thought Infotel may pursue a partnership or acquisition to offer 2G services in the future.

Such a move would have placed Mukesh in direct competition with his brother Anil, owner of second ranked operator Reliance Communications.

Mukesh left the Indian telecoms market in 2006 after a long running dispute with his brother, which saw the break-up of the Reliance conglomerate between the two.