India regulators reveal names of spectrum bidders

In what is expected to be a competitive auction given the low penetration of mobile and broadband services, the Indian 3G/broadband wireless access (BWA) auction will see some nine bidders for 3G spectrum and 11 bidders for BWA licenses, India's Department of Telecoms (DoT) announced.

The nine bidders for the 3G licenses are: Bharti, Vodafone-Essar, Tata Teleservices, Etisalat, S Tel, Videocon, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular and Aircel. The two state-run telecom companies, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) already have 3G licenses, and will be required to pay a license fee based on the outcome of the auction for private licenses.

The 11 bidders for the BWA licenses are: Tikona Digital, Qualcomm, Tata Communications, Vodafone-Essar, Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Spice, Augere, HFCL, and Reliance Communications.

Qualcomm announced plans to bid last week Qualcomm, and plans to find a partner if it wins and deploy TD-LTE in the BWA 2.3/2.5 GHz bands to directly challenge WiMAX. Interestingly, Intel stayed out of the fray as did AT&T, which was rumored to be interested in spectrum.

India's spectrum auctions are set for April 9 for 3G spectrum. The BWA auction will begin two days after the end of the 3G auction. The government plans to auction two 20 MHz unpaired blocks of spectrum in each of the country's 22 service areas. Qualcomm plans to bid for one of the slots. The base price for a pan-India spectrum slot is set at $386 million.

For more:
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