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Indian Radio Spectrum to Start on Monday

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India's third attempt to sell the radio spectrum left over after the Supreme Court cancelled the controversial 2008 GSM licenses will start on Monday.

The government is hoping the raise at least Rs11,300 crore (USD1.8 billion) from the auction after previous attempts were flawed by high reserve prices and concerns about the regulatory regime.

The Department of Telecom is offering around 385 MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band, and 46 MHz in the 900MHz band.

Eight companies have qualified for the bidding

The government has set the reserve price in the 1800Mhz band for pan-India at Rs 1,765 crore per MHz, about 26 percent lower than the previous sale. The reserve price for the 900Mhs spectrum was more than halved to Rs 360 crore per MHz for Delhi, Rs 328 crore for Mumbai and Rs 125 crore for Kolkata.

There will also be a 5 percent spectrum usage charge on top of the license fees.

A last ditch attempt by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Loop and Idea to stop some of the licenses that they currently own being resold at auction was blocked by the Supreme Court, but an urgent hearing has been scheduled and it looks as if the court will hear their appeal during the auction.

The auction will go ahead, but the disputed licenses wont be confirmed until after the court hearing.

The other licenses are unaffected.

Three of the bidders are also barred from biding in some areas. Vodafone India will not be able to bid in seven circles, RCom in eight and Tata Teleservices in Delhi.

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Tags: radio spectrum  India