Vodafone has secured spectrum licences in 14 telecom circles in India for £138m, a price that has left the government well short of its 400bn Indian Rupees (£4.6bn) target for the 1800 MHz 2G auction.
According to Reuters, carriers have criticised the Indian Government for trying to pay off debt through the sale of the spectrum, with the starting price too high and the limited amount of spectrum on sale creating artificial scarcity.
The government raised 94bn Indian Rupees (£1.08bn) from the auction that ended on its second day – much shorter than the 35 day event touted by officials.
The auction was arranged after the Supreme Court ordered the cancellation of permits granted to eight carriers in a scandal-tainted process in 2008.
A statement from Vodafone said: “Vodafone’s decision to participate in the 2G auction was to secure additional spectrum in circles where it has not received new 2G spectrum since 2008. Since then, Vodafone’s customer base in India has grown from 60 million to over 150 million today.
“The additional spectrum and continued network investments will enable Vodafone India to build on its success in delivering superior mobile services to its customers throughout India.”
Along with Vodafone, mobile market leaders Bharti Airtel won an additional area and Videocon Telecommunications, whose 2G permits are to be revoked, won six zones.
The winners in the auction have the option of making a third of the payment upfront and the balance over 12 years.