Eight companies, including Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are competing for two bandwidth slots – 900MHz and 1,800MHz in 22 circles – offered in the third spectrum auction within 15 months.
Sibal said bids totaling Rs 40,000 crore were received on the opening day of the auction due to rational base price fixed by government.
“We took the bold step of rationalizing reserve prices and on the first day itself you have bids worth Rs 40,000 crore,” he said.
The government set a pan-India rate of Rs 1,765 crore per MHz as the start price for spectrum in the 1,800MHz band, which is about 26 percent lower than the base rate in the March 2013 sale, where there were no takers for GSM airwaves.
For the 900MHz band, it approved a rate that is about 53 per cent lower than the March auction price.
“I just think that may be we got it right, that’s all,” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Chairman Rahul Khullar said without elaborating when asked to comment on the response to the auction.
The DoT has put on the block about 385MHz of radiowaves in the 1,800MHz band in 22 circles and 46MHz in the 900MHz band in three circles of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
The 2G spectrum in 1,800MHz band was put for auction following a Supreme Court order of February 2013.
The 3G and BWA auction together fetched government over Rs 1.05 lakh crore in 2010. The 3G auction in 2010 lasted for 34 days while auction for broadband wireless access airwaves in 16 days.