Reliance Industries telecoms unit applies to bid in India spectrum auction - sources

NEW DELHI Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:48am EST

NEW DELHI Jan 15 (Reuters) - The telecoms unit of Indian energy major Reliance Industries has applied to bid in a spectrum auction next month, said a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

The move by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd comes as a surprise as the company is working to launch 4G wireless broadband services soon.

Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications have also applied to bid in the spectrum auction, sources said.

India will auction spectrum in two separate frequency bands starting Feb. 3. The government hopes to raise at least $1.8 billion from the sale, crucial to its efforts to rein in the country's budget deficit.

Cellular carriers have to submit initial interest for participating in the auction by Wednesday. (Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)