India poised for 3G auction in December

India's auction of third-generation (3G) telecommunications services will go ahead in early December, more than a year after it was originally planned, the government said yesterday, writes James Lamont in New Delhi .

The Department of Telecommunications at the weekend invited companies wishing to participate in the auction on December 7 to notify it by mid-November.

The declaration of an auction date comes after a ministerial panel almost doubled the reserve price for pan-India 3G spectrum to Rs35bn ($722m) from rupees 20.2bn. There is pressure to launch the auction to bring in revenues to help close the largest fiscal deficit for nearly two decades.

The reserve price has risen steadily in spite of the global economic downturn. India's independent telecoms regulator had initially recommended a floor price of $250m for a 3G licence.

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