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India telecom airwaves sale opens to muted response

Published on Nov 12, 2012 11:04 PM

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India's auction of 2G mobile phone airwaves attracted nearly US$2 billion (S$2.45 billion) worth of bids on Monday but no interest for four zones in a process that some carriers have said is too pricey.

The government received bids worth more than 92 billion rupees (S$2 billion) by the end of the fifth round of the auction, out of seven held on the day, Telecommunications Secretary R. Chandrashekhar said, though he said there had been no demand yet in the Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan zones.

India is for the first time selling second-generation mobile spectrum through an auction after the Supreme Court ordered the revoking of permits granted to eight carriers in a scandal-tainted process in 2008.

The auction - covering 22 zones in total - has no set timeframe and is due to run for as long as it takes for bids to dry up.

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