Bids for one set of nationwide third-generation (3G) mobile spectrum licences reached 79 billion rupees ($1.78 billion), or 126 percent above the base price, on the thirteenth day of an auction, government data showed.

Seventy-six rounds of bidding had been completed by Saturday, the Department of Telecommunications said on its website. The auction started on April 9 and is still on. The base price for one set of pan-India licenses had been set at 35 billion rupees.

The government will sell four such licenses — three from the auction and one set to the state-run telecoms firms who would have to match the highest bid price paid by the private operators. Nine mobile operators, including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone's Indian unit, are participating in the auction.

The auction resumes today.

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