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India faces further delays in 3G licensing

Ken Wieland

January 6, 2009

1 Min Read
India faces further delays in 3G licensing

India’s telecoms industry looks to be facing yet more delays in the licensing of spectrum for 3G and WiMAX services.

Having already put the spectrum auctions off until this year, because of the government’s failure to clear the relevant radio spectrum in all circles, or operating regions, new delays are anticipated in the wake of proposals to double the base price of the licences.

Reserve prices of Rupees20.2bn (Eur310m) for the 3G spectrum and Rupees11.1bn for the WiMAX spectrum are understood to have been set. Already these figures are almost double the price recommended by the country’s telecoms regulator, but the Indian finance ministry is apparently keen to double these figures again.

In light of the global economic crisis, the proposal has naturally met with much concern, suggesting more delays before the auction process is able to go ahead.

Both the 3G and BWA licenses are expected to win major interest from India’s wireless players given the explosive subscriber growth potential of the country.

By the end of September 2010, there will be 500 million mobile subscriptions in India, according to figures released this week by analyst house and telecoms.com parent Informa Telecoms & Media.

Whilst it took 13 years for India to gain its first 250 million mobile subscriptions, the analyst predicts that the country’s second 250 million subscribers will be added over the next 30 months.

India is the world’s second largest mobile market, as well as the second fastest growing market after China. During the first six months of 2008, Indian mobile operators added over 50 million net additions, with China just keeping ahead with 53.6 million. By comparison, saturated markets such as the UK and France, chalked up net additions of 410,000 and 535,000 respectively.

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