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India picks April 9 for long-overdue 3G auction

Chris Ziegler

Okay, it's set: April 9. No, seriously this time. Seriously. After a handful of false starts spanning over a year, India -- perhaps sitting on the second largest untapped broadband wireless market in the world -- has decided on a 3G auction date in just a few months' time, hoping to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 billion rupees ($7.6 billion) for a set of licenses that includes 22 of the country's 24 wireless zones. Most zones have four slots available, but a handful -- including the all-important Delhi area -- only have two thanks to extreme spectrum saturation, an issue that likely accounts at least in part for the delay in getting this thing underway. Interested parties have until March 19 to submit their interest; the country's top three carriers are all prepping nationwide bids, while Telenor has said that it'll bid in select zones, and even AT&T -- yes, AT&T -- is said to be eying an entrance to the market. Nationwide rollover, anyone?

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