Gulf operators vie for Indian 3G spectrum

Etisalat DB and STel face tough competition from India's leading players in race for 3G spectrum.

Tags: 3GEtisalat International - UAEIndiaSTel (www.stel.in)
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Gulf operators vie for Indian 3G spectrum Nine operators, including Etisalat DB and STel, have applied to bid for 3G spectrum in India. (Getty Images)
By  Roger Field Published  March 24, 2010

Etisalat's Indian operation, Etisalat DB, and Batelco-backed mobile operator STel, are among nine companies that submitted applications to bid for 3G spectrum in India, according to a statement from the country's department of telecommunications.

STel, which started operations late last year, and Etisalat DB, which is due to start operating this year, will face tough competition in the auction. Among the other seven companies that have applied to bid for the spectrum are market leaders Bharti Airtel, Reliance Telecom and Vodafone Essar. Established players Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular and Aircel also submitted applications.

The companies will be bidding for three 3G slots across most of the country's 22 telecoms service areas.

The government is also holding a separate auction for BWA mobile broadband spectrum, with two slots per service area available. India's department of telecommunications said it had received 11 applications from companies interested in this spectrum, including Qualcomm, Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Tata Communications and Reliance WiMAX.

The 3G auction is expected to start on April 9, and the BWA auction will start two days after the 3G auction closes.

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