Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio Infocomm and five other telecom firms will battle it out at the spectrum auction tomorrow, from which the government expects to garner at least Rs 11,300 crore. The department of telecom has put on the block around 385 MHz of radiowaves in the 1800 MHz band, and 46 MHz in the 900 MHz band. Also Read - Top Airtel, Reliance Jio plans with Disney Plus Hotstar and Amazon Prime subscriptionAlso Read - 5G rollout must be India’s top priority, keeping affordability in mind: Mukesh Ambani
DoT has reduced the quantum of spectrum to be sold in 1800 MHz band in 10 circles, including Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, from about a total of 403 MHz planned earlier. The final list of bidders also includes Idea Cellular, Telewings (Uninor), Reliance Communications (RCom), Tata Teleservices and Aircel.
Three companies, meanwhile, have been found to be ineligible for bidding in certain service areas. Vodafone India will not be able to bid in seven circles, RCom in eight and Tata Teleservices in Delhi. The government has to conduct this third round of spectrum auction following a Supreme Court order in 2G case directing that all the radiowaves freed from the cancellation of 122 licences in February 2012 should be auctioned.
Besides, 900 Mhz has to be auctioned as some of the radiowaves in this band are held under old telecom licences which will start expiring from November 2014. In November 2012, bids worth Rs 9,407 crore were received for spectrum worth Rs 28,000 that was offered. ALSO READ: Spectrum auction roundup: No takers for 700MHz band, unrealistic pricing blamed for moderate response
In March 2013, no GSM operators bid at the auction and only CDMA operator Sistema Shyam bought spectrum of about Rs 3,600 crore in eight of the 21 service areas. It is must for Vodafone to get spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata; for Airtel in Delhi and Mumbai, and Loop Mobile in Mumbai for continuing operations because their licences are expiring in November. Government has fixed the base price for sale of spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band for pan-India at Rs 1,765 crore per MHz, about 26 percent lower than in the March sale.
For 900 MHz band, the base price is 53 percent lower than the previous auction price. It is Rs 360 crore per MHz for Delhi, Rs 328 crore for Mumbai and Rs 125 crore for Kolkata. The government is hopeful that all the spectrum put on auction table would be sold out.
“We are very confident that these auctions are going to be successful and we are very confident all the spectrum that is to be auctioned will be sold,” Telecom Secretary MF Farooqui had said.