Bharti Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Videocon and Telewings have been named by India’s Department of Telecommunications as the five companies that will bid for 2G spectrum in the country’s upcoming auction.
Licences to operate services in the 1800MHz band are to go up for sale on November 2. India’s Supreme Court has asked the government to finish the auction by January 11.
According to the DoT, Idea Cellular (Mumbai, India) has the highest number of ‘eligibility points’ (1,594), allowing it to bid for frequencies in more ‘circles’, or regions, than other companies.
Telewings, owned by Telenor (Oslo, Norway), secured 1,332 eligibility points, while Videocon (Gurgaon, India) came in with 788, Vodafone (Newbury, UK) had 276 and Bharti Airtel (New Delhi, India) notched up just 124.
Authorities have been looking to raise Rs40,000 crore ($7.4 billion) from the spectrum sale, but their expectations may already have suffered after Tata Teleservices (Mumbai, India) and Videocon withdrew their bids for CDMA spectrum earlier this month.
The government had planned to sell the CDMA airwaves towards the end of the auction process, but the withdrawals by Tata and Videocon have left it with no CDMA bidders.
The spectrum up for auction was originally awarded in 2008, but recipients had their licences cancelled earlier this year after India’s Supreme Court found the process had been riddled with corruption.
In the meantime, India’s telecoms market has become far less attractive to investors, persuading some companies that lost licences, such as Etisalat (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates), to write off their investments and skip the new auction.