The biggest ever auction of 2G and 3G airwaves on Wednesday began on a high note with operators making bids worth an estimated Rs 60,000 crore after six rounds of bidding in all four bands. Also Read - 4G spectrum auction: Reliance Jio comes out as highest bidder, Airtel followsAlso Read - Telecom spectrum auctions begin today: Here's all you need to know
The bidding will resume tomorrow morning in the auction through which the government was expecting to raise over Rs 82,000 crore. The final amount may go much higher if bids continue at such an aggressive pace. “Six rounds of bidding were concluded today with bids worth Rs 60,000 crore coming in all the four bands on offer,” a source privy to the development said. Incumbent Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are locked with upstart carrier Reliance Jio of billionaire Mukesh Ambani to protect their spectrum they need to carry voice and data in the world’s second-biggest smartphone market. In all, eight bidders are in fray. Also Read - TRAI floats consultation paper on spectrum auction
The auction is the biggest ever sale of 2G and 3G airwaves which may fetch the government over Rs 82,000 crore at the base price. The government is selling airwaves in four bands: 2,100 megahertz (Mhz), 1,800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz. While 900 Mhz and 2,100 MHz bands witnessed good bidding, 800 MHz was the surprise band with lot of interest. However, there was not much bidding in Mumbai, Delhi and Karnataka circles in the 2,100 MHz band, the source said. The government will not release results of the auction becuase of a court ruling. “The Indian telecoms auction starting today is likely to see intense bidding by telcos to retain their existing spectrum and to acquire new spectrum as supply is limited,” Fitch Ratings said.