Bharti Surges as Mobile-Phone Airwave Sales Fail: Mumbai Mover

Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s biggest mobile-phone operator, surged the most in more than two years in Mumbai trading on speculation failed spectrum auctions may prompt the government to cut airwave prices.

The company jumped as much as 9.3 percent, the most since July 2010. It was up 2.2 percent at 313.60 rupees as of 12:46 p.m., the biggest gain on the S&P BSE Sensex Index. Idea Cellular Ltd. rose as much as 4.7 percent.

India will reconsider bidding rules and the minimum price in two spectrum sales that were scheduled for next month after no companies registered ahead of yesterday’s deadline, according to an official. That means operators may be able to get spectrum more cheaply, easing concerns about them overpaying, said Daryl Philip, an analyst with Mumbai-based Finquest Security Pvt.

“They’re looking for the reserve price to be removed entirely so that prices are purely market driven,” he said. Companies didn’t register this time because of “the spectrum’s pricing and their own poor financial condition,” Philip said.

A panel of ministers will decide what to do with the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz airwaves that failed to draw bidders, said the official, who declined to be named, citing government policy. The decision will probably be made in the year starting April 1, the official said.

A third sale, for 800 MHz airwaves, will proceed next month as planned even after only Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd. registered to take part, the official said.

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