India, the world's fastest growing mobile market, plans to start auctioning third-generation wireless spectrum as scheduled from Jan. 14, Telecom Minister Andimuthu Raja said on Monday.

“Auction will be according to the schedule. Allotment of spectrum to maintain the level playing field will be by August 2010,” Raja told reporters after a meeting of a ministerial panel on spectrum. “Allotment to the four service providers will be simultaneous,” he added. Ratan Tata, chairman of Indian conglomerate Tata group, has urged the government to allocate spectrum simultaneously to all winners of the forthcoming auction, the Economic Times said on Saturday. Analysts expect phone companies to spend $1.5 billion on 3G spectrum alone, while building the high-speed wireless networks will cost billions of dollars more.