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India hopes to raise $2.3 billion in mobile spectrum sale

Published on Feb 3, 2014 9:02 PM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's cash-strapped government hoped on Monday it would be third time lucky as it began an auction of mobile licences to try to raise money and increase investment in the struggling sector.

The authorities were obliged to hold the auction after the Supreme Court in February 2012 cancelled 122 mobile licences due to a scandal-tainted bidding process, creating turmoil in the sector and a major political scandal for the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The court order that the airwave licences be resold prompted many players to exit the sector, nursing their losses.

The auction, which the government hopes will raise 113 billion rupees (S$2.3 billion) to help bridge its fiscal deficit, marked the third attempt in 18 months to sell second-generation or 2G spectrum which is used to provide basic voice and data services.

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