Indian government plugs deficit hole with spectrum haul

Written by on March 26, 2015 in Snippets with 0 Comments

MUMBAI (Reuters) – The Indian Supreme Court has allowed the government to conclude the auction of telecom airwaves and collect initial payments from operators, multiple television channels reported on Thursday.

The country’s top court had last month allowed the government to proceed with the auction, which began on March 4, but had said no final allocations could be made until after the court held hearings regarding legal complaints on the sale mechanisms.

The government raised a record $17.6 billion (12 billion pounds) from its sale of mobile airwaves in four spectrum bands after a 19-day auction that ended on Wednesday.

The government can now declare the winners of the airwaves, and it will receive more than 280 billion rupees (3 billion pounds) in initial payments, two business news channels reported.

Victorious bidders need to pay a quarter to a third of the winning price within 10 days, and the rest in 10 annual installments beginning 2017. Spectrum revenue is key for the government to plug its fiscal deficit.

(Reporting by Aman Shah; Editing by Rafael Nam)

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