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Vodafone Is Biggest Spender as India’s Airwave Auction Flops

  • Government raised a fraction of what it had expected
  • Debt, intensifying competition with Jio entry weakened demand
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Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
Updated on

Vodafone Group Plc’s Indian unit was the biggest spender at an auction of airwaves that ended Thursday with the government raising a fraction of the 5.6 trillion rupees ($84 billion) that it had sought.

The world’s second-largest mobile phone market raised 657.9 billion rupees as several carriers shunned the sale to preserve cash amid intensifying competition in the industry. Vodafone, the nation’s second-largest operator, bid 202.8 billion rupees to increase its mobile broadband coverage to 17 regions in India, the company said in a statement. Bharti Airtel Ltd., the largest service provider, said it bought 142.4 billion rupees of spectrum.