India eyes US$800M from spectrum auctions

Sale of airwaves in 2012-2013 expected to fetch Indian government 40 billion rupees (US$800 million) in revenue to help in drive towards better fiscal consolidation next year, reports say.

The Indian government expects to raise about 40 billion rupees (US$0.8 billion) from the sale of airwaves in 2012-13 and the auctions may provide much-needed revenues to its coffers and help it in its drive for better fiscal consolidation next year, says report.

According to news daily Times of India in its report Monday, two bandwidth auctions are slated to be held before March 2013, and industry watchers say the sale proceeds may be more than triple the budget estimates. 

It adds that the amount raised from the spectrum auction will be even higher if the government implements its plans to impose a one-time fee retrospectively on all 'excess' airwaves held by incumbent GSM operators, which alone could be fetch over 23 billion rupees.

Times of India noted that for the current fiscal year, about 15 billion rupees was budgeted for spectrum auctions, but this was not realized, as there had been no sale of airwaves during the last 12 months. 

The news follows a landmark verdict by the Indian supreme court last month, which revoked all 122 mobile licences issued in 2008 by former telecom minister A Raja. It also ordered that the 2G spectrum released to be auctioned.

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