The auction for the two bands, which have been used for 2G services so far, have received a strong response. The government’s two previous auctions flopped because the floor price discouraged bidders.
Out of five online spectrum auctions, the present auction is largest in terms of quantum of airwaves put for sale and third longest till date in terms of duration.
3G auction in 2010 lasted for 34 days, broadband wireless airwaves ended in 16 days while 2G auction in November ended in two days and CDMA auction in March concluded the same day.
In November 2012, bids worth Rs 9,407 crore were received for spectrum worth Rs 28,000 on offer. In March 2013, no GSM operator bid at the auction and only CDMA operator Sistema Shyam bought spectrum for about Rs 3,600 crore in eight of the 21 service areas.
There is no time limit for the sale of spectrum and the duration of the current auction will depend on the appetite of the eight companies in the fray — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Telewings (Uninor) and Reliance Communications.
The government has put on the block about 385MHz of spectrum in the ,1800MHz band. The auction started on February 3, following the cancellation of 122 licences by the Supreme Court in the 2G spectrum allocation case two years ago.