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Indian phone carriers battle to survive with airwaves thrown open

Airwaves up for auction account for almost half of US$19b in revenue for the four largest operators

The auction is likely to drive up prices for consumers as carriers try to repay debt they add to pay for spectrum. The average monthly phone bill in India is about US$2.

New Delhi

THE Indian government will open the bidding Wednesday for airwaves already in use by the biggest carriers, including Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Group Plc. They'll have to compete to keep their licences in the auction against Mukesh Ambani, who is India's richest man and has