Spectrum auctions covering a wide range of frequencies and air interfaces, set to begin March 4, 2015 have drawn eight bidders.
Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infotel, Reliance Communications (RCom), Tata Teleservices, Uninor and Vodafone have announced they will bid.
The auction is a bit unusual in that it includes 2G and 3G spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1.8GHz and 2.1GHz bands, and also puts out for rebid frequencies already used by incumbent service providers.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and RCom, for example, must win back their spectrum to be able to stay in business. By some estimates, about half of all mobile revenues now are supported by spectrum that must be reacquired by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and RCom.
Tata Teleservices, Aircel and Uninor also will try to win spectrum.
Reserve prices have been set rather high, some argue. That is a problem, in that all paid spectrum costs will be passed along to consumers.