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Govt Raises Rs. 65,789 Crore From Telecom Spectrum Auction

The telecoms spectrum auction raised Rs. 65,789 crore ($9.9 billion) for the government after five days of bidding which ended on Thursday. The government sold 965 megahertz of the 2355 megahertz spectrum it had offered but still exceeded its budget estimate of raising Rs. 64,581 crore of revenue from the auction.

It expects to get about Rs. 32,000 crore of the spectrum payments initially, Telecoms Minister Manoj Sinha told reporters, as carriers are allowed to pay in installments. All seven carriers that participated in the auction bought spectrum, the minister said.

Separately, top mobile phone carrier Bharti Airtel Ltd said it bought spectrum worth Rs. 14,244 crore, while No.3 Idea Cellular said it had bought spectrum worth Rs. 12,798 crore. Vodafone's Indian unit and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd - two other major carriers that participated in the auction - did not immediately give details of their purchases.

The auction was India's biggest ever, with the total value of the spectrum being estimated at Rs. 5.6 lakh crore based on the reserve price set by the government. However, two categories of spectrum, the 700 band and the 900 band, found no takers due to their high prices.

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