New Delhi, March 30: All nine players, including Bharti Airtel and Reliance Telecom, who are keen to participate in the 3G spectrum auction, have been cleared for financial bidding.
According to a department of telecom notice today, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Telecom, Vodafone Essar, Etisalat DB, Idea Cellular, S Tel, Tata Teleservices, Aircel and Videocon are in the fray.
All these nine applicants will submit their financial bids soon. Before the final auction on April 9, there will be mock auctions on April 5 and 6.
The operators, however, can start commercial launch after September 1.
Though the government had fixed a reserve price of Rs 3,500 crore for all-India 3G spectrum, the bids could be much higher as the number of operators in the fray were more than the number of slots available.
The government could garner at least about Rs 20,000 crore, if one takes into account only the reserve price.
Bharti Airtel plans to provide high-speed services by the end of 2010.
The auction for wireless broadband spectrum (WiMax) will begin two days after the close of the 3G auctions.
For WiMax spectrum, 11 bidders have qualified Bharti, Reliance, Vodafone, Aircel, Idea, Tata Internet Services, Qualcomm, Spice Internet Service, Infotel Broadband Services, Augere Mauritius and Tikona Wireless. The government has fixed Rs 1,750 crore as the reserve price for WiMax spectrum.
Third generation (3G) telecom services allow faster connectivity than what is available now.