3G-4G auction prices raised by 3 quarters

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New Delhi, Aug 28: On Thursday, Aug 27, India raised the consereved auction prices of third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G) radio spectrum by nearly three-quarters

Union Telecommunication Minister A Raja said the long-pending sales would be held within three months.

He said the government expected at least 250 billion rupees from the sale, which analysts have said would help plug India's fiscal deficit.

In its Jul 2009 budget, the government forecast the deficit would widen to 6.8 percent of gross domestic product in the year to Mar 2010, and pencilled in 350 billion rupees from the auction.

The auction, which would introduce high-speed Internet and video downloads on mobile phones, was originally planned for Jan 2009 but was delayed after the finance ministry wanted the reserve price to be doubled.

On Thursday, Aug 28, the base price for 3G spectrum was revised by a ministerial panel to 35 billion rupees from an original 20.20 billion rupees.

Firms bidding for fourth-generation Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum will have to pay a minimum of 17.5 billion rupees now, compared with 10.10 billion announced last year.

On this score, Raja said the auction would get over in three months.

"It (auction) will finish within three months," he added.

India plans to auction the spectrum in 20 of the country's 22 telecom zones for the time being, as it does not have available radio airwaves in the other two.

It is reported that Bharti Airtel (BRTI.BO), the country's leading mobile operator would participate in the auction.

ANI

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