2G auction mops up 62,000 cr

New Delhi :  The UPA cash registers are ringing: the second generation spectrum auction ended on Thursday after mopping up Rs.62000 crores in 68 rounds.

2G auction mops up 62,000 cr

The funds from the spectrum sale are crucial for the government to bridge the fiscal deficit, which in the first three quarters has inched closer to the budgeted target for the whole year.

Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said: “I want to see a smile on the face of finance minister and also on the face of consumers. And that can be only seen if the service provided by the operators is efficient and is at reasonable prices.”

Eight telecom firms, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm, were in the fray. The telecom players bid aggressively in the 900 Mhz category, which was in short supply and being auctioned in just three cities, including Delhi and Mumbai, the two most important markets.

The stakes were especially high for Vodafone and Bharti after the Supreme Court refused to extend their licenses in the 900 Mhz band for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. It was important for them to continue their operations in these three crucial markets. The outcome has been positive for all three: Vodafone, Airtel bagged 900 MHz band in Delhi.  Airtel, Vodafone in Mumbai; Airtel and Vodafone in Kolkata; and Idea was successful in bagging the 900 MHz band in Delhi.

Now that the auction is complete the real work for the industry will begin. These licenses are for a period of 20 years and these bandwidths will be given to operators till 2034.

“In a 20-year scenario this sector will be seen as the golden goose that laid the golden egg. This sector has enormous potential. We have not yet started looking at the 3G revolution and the data revolution that is going to come up. They are going to be a very, very innovative and unique base,” Sibal said commenting on the growth potential in spectrum airwaves.

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