India's Department of Telecom has set the date for India's largest spectrum auction to date, announcing that bidding will commence on September 29.
The massive auction will be preceded by a pre-bid auction on Saturday, the Hindureported. The government has also pledged to make the spectrum available to the winners within 30 days of receiving an upfront payment.
In total more than 2,300 MHz of spectrum divided into 126 blocks will be auctioned next month. Analysts expect bidding to reach as high as $14.8 billion, while the government believes bidding could reach up to $83 billion.
But operators have been less than enthusiastic, with Airtel's CEO recently announcing that the company sees no “great need” for more spectrum, and Telenor revealing that its Indian subsidiary will sit out of the auction.
Specturum in the 700-MHz, 800-MHz, 900-MHz, 1800-MHz, 2100-MHz and 2300-MHz bands will be put on the block.
Winners of spectrum in the three lower bands will be required to pay at least 25% of their total bid within 10 days of the auction concluding, while the other bands will require a 50% down-payment.