MUMBAI: India's latest auction of radio wave frequencies for telecoms networks got off to strong start on Wednesday, with the government receiving bids worth about Rs 617 billion ($9.9 billion), according to bidding data.
Market leaders Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Group Plc's local unit are among eight companies bidding to win the 20-year allocations in four different spectrum bands in an auction that the government reckons could raise $13.3 billion.
The data released by the Department of Telecommunications after six rounds of bidding on the first day of the auction showed strong interest in the premium 900 megahertz band, which is currently being used for voice services but can also carry high-speed 3G data and has more reach than the higher-frequency, higher-capacity 1800 and 2100 MHz bands on offer.
The auction could take days or even weeks depending on bidding intensity. The government will not disclose company-specific bids until the auction is over.