The auction has drawn in bidders like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Aircel, Etisalat, S Tel and Videocon Telecommunications for airwaves in all 22 service areas.
With a base price of Rs.3,500 crore for one 3G slot, the auction is likely to garner Rs 50,000 crores for the government.
3G telecom services provides faster connectivity and offers applications like internet TV, video-on-demand, audio-video calls and high-speed data exchange.
Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone Essar, Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular and Aircel, will bid for all-India spectrum, while India spectrum, Videocon, S Tel and Etisalat will limit their bidding to few selective circles.
The Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) was issued on Feb 25 and as per NIA four operators will be allowed in the five states of Punjab, West Bengal, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir.
There will be three private players for most of the circles including four metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
The bidders will be allowed start the 3G services on commercial basis from Sep 1, 2010.
The auction is expected to go on till 7.30 pm in the evening.