Round 100, and telecom minister A. Raja has said in parliament that India’s 3G Auction is nearing its end – he expects it to last around two days; which would effectively mean “May day”. 17 days into the auction, the provisional winning price (if you can call it that anymore) for pan-India spectrum is Rs. 93.3 billion, with Mumbai as the most expensive circle, at Rs. 14.92 billion per slot, and Delhi close behind at Rs. 14.17 billion. Together, the two metros account for over 31 percent of the bids, in money terms. The pan-India price for spectrum is now 166.57 percent higher than the base price of Rs. 35 billion.

Day 17 again saw no change in price for 9 circles, and only Kolkata, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh saw excess demand in round 100. The government has disclosed that they’re raising the minimum activity requirement now to 90 percent.

2G Scam and Phone Tapping

Meanwhile, news reports allege that the Indian government has evidence of a scam in the arbitrary and opaque distribution of 2G spectrum in the country. The government apparently had tapped phones of several people, including Nira Radia, who runs several PR and consultancy companies, including Vaishnavi Corporate Consultants, Noesis Strategic Consulting Services, Vitcom Consulting and Neucom Consulting”, reports The Pioneer in Tapped and Trapped.

“From these conversations, it appears that Ms Nira Radia might have had some role with regards to the award of telecom licences. In a conversation, she guided a new telecom operator on the need to delay the inflow of funds from the overseas investor and not to give the impression to the Government that there has been any ‘windfall’ profit,” the letter added.

In the conversation details available with The Pioneer, Radia was talking about arranging huge money from abroad for Unitech Wireless, which is a major beneficiary in the spectrum scam.’

The CBDT denied conducting the tapping (inaccessible now). The Hindu also apparently put up a 14 document, and then pulled it, with the following statement:

A press release on the 2G scam was issued by AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa in Chennai on April 28, 2010. The Hindu is unable to verify the authenticity of a 14-page document purporting to be an official account of intercepted phone conversations and is, therefore, taking it off its website.

All those of you in possession of similar documents may have heard of WikiLeaks. Do also read about it at Wikipedia. Not that we’re encouraging you to use it, of course.

3G Auction Details

– Complete auction details for 29th April
– Daily auction reports for previous days: 28th April, 27th April, 26th April, 26th April24th April / 23rd April22nd April21st April20th April19th April17th April16th April15th April /  13th April12th April10th April9th April 2010