At the end of the 34th day and 183 rounds of bidding, the government had a bonanza in its hands, nearly double its initial estimate of Rs 35,000 crore from the sale.At an average of nearly Rs 1,300 crore per circle, Vodafone Essar emerged as the most ‘premium’ buyer among the seven firms that won the auction. Seven of its nine victories belonged to the top ten most expensive circles. Vodafone Essar will pay Rs 11,618 crore —- the second highest amount in the auction.
In a surprise move, Bharti Airtel seemed to have concentrated primarily on the top five circles, including Delhi, Mumbai and the three southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Among the notable absences in its wins were lucrative states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab.
There was no taker for a pan-India licence as operators cherry-picked circles.
Bharti will pay Rs 12,295 crore, about 3.5 times the starting price for all-India 3G spectrum and around 25% less than the Rs 16,751 crore that would have fetched a pan-India licence.
Reliance Communications, Aircel and Idea Cellular picked up 11-13 circles each, mostly from the second and third rungs. Chennai-based S Tel picked up 3 small circles for a total of around Rs 337 crore.