Aditya Birla Group firm Idea was the most aggressive bidder, followed by Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Airtel and UK’s Vodafone in the fiercely contested spectrum auction of spectrum that Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Thursday insisted will not result in increase in call rates. Also Read - 4G spectrum auction: Reliance Jio comes out as highest bidder, Airtel follows
Of the record Rs 1,09,874.91 crore received in the 19-day auction that concluded Wednesday, the government will get Rs 28,872.7 crore within 10 days but Prasad wanted the telecom operators to pay the upfront money within six days to help the government meet its budget targets of the 2014-15 fiscal. Ideal Cellular, which provides mobile services using GSM technology, bid a maximum of Rs 30,306.98 crore to buy spectrum in the 900 megahertz, 1800 MHz and 2,100 MHz bands. Airtel bid Rs 29,130.20 crore in the same bands, which also saw Vodafone commit Rs 29,959.74 crore. New entrant Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Jio bought radiowaves that carry mobile telephony calls and data in 800 MHz and 1800 MHz for Rs 10,077.53 crore. Also Read - Telecom spectrum auctions begin today: Here's all you need to know
His younger brother Anil’s Reliance Communication also bid in the same bands but walked way with lesser spectrum for Rs 4,299.13 crore. While Norway’s Telenor was the only company out of the 8 that participated in the auction but did not to win any radiowaves. Tata Teleservices bought Rs 7,851.33 crore of spectrum in 800 MHz and 1800 MHz. Aircel will pay Rs 2,250 crore to buy spectrum in 1800 MHz band. “In the 2010 spectrum, we collected Rs 1.06 lakh crore but against that there was a Rs 30,000 crore share of BSNL and MTNL against the auction allocated to them earlier. This time there is no component of BSNL and MTNL. Therefore, it is the highest in the history of Indian telecom,” Prasad told reporters here. Also Read - Government to offer free movies to new internet users in remote areas: Report
He further said: “The first instalment is to be payed in 10 days at outer limit. We still have six days in this financial year. National revenue is equally important and the image of the country. I will appeal to all the bidders to pay by March 31.” The minister countered industry experts terming auction determined spectrum as very high that will lead to hike in mobile call and other services rates. “I am seeing a huge campaign that mobile rates will go up. A person very familiar with telecom industry has given me analysis. The spectrum will be with operators for 20 years. As per the analysis, the yearly load on telecom operators is going to be about Rs 5,300 crore…and 1.3 paise per minute call,” he said.