Spectrum auction garners bids worth Rs 86,000 crore on day 4

| Sunday, March 8, 2015 - 09:26
First Published |

New Delhi: Government has got commitments of Rs 86,000 crore from telecom players at the end of fourth day of spectrum auction -- crossing the targetted minimum amount of Rs 82,000 crore from the ongoing sale of 2G and 3G airwaves.

The auction will resume on Monday morning as there is still unsold spectrum left.

The government may rake in above Rs 1 lakh crore from spectrum sale if bidding continues at robust pace.

"The bidding has taken place in all bands. At present, a value of approximately Rs 86,000 crore has been committed by bidders in respect of provisionally won spectrum. Bidding would recommence on Monday," the Department of Telecom said.

Till now, 24 rounds of bidding have taken place in four days. At the end of 17 rounds on Friday, the value stood at Rs 77,000 crore.

However, the government will not release results of the auction because of a court ruling.

In 800 Mhz band, four new areas of Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab and West Bengal witnessed activity on Saturday whereas 1,800 Mhz band, North-East and Rajasthan circles saw new bids.

Incumbents Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are locked with Reliance Jio 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.

The auction is the biggest ever sale of 2G and 3G airwaves where government is selling spectrum in four bands: 2,100 megahertz (Mhz), 1,800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz.

On the fourth day on Saturday, robust bidding was witnessed in all the bands and Karnataka also witnessed bidding for the first time in the 2,100 MHz band. However, there was no bidding in Mumbai, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh in 2,100 MHz band.

A total of 380.75 MHz of spectrum is on offer in the premium 900 MHz band, 1,800 MHz and 800 MHz while 5 MHz is up for bidding in the 2,100 MHz band across 17 out of 22 telecom areas or circles in the country.

Most of the spectrum put up for auction is presently held by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Telecom. Their licences are expiring in 2015-16.

Mobile licences for nine circles of Idea Cellular, six circles of Airtel and seven circles each of Vodafone and Reliance Telecom are coming up for renewal.

Overall, there are 29 licences in 18 service areas which will expire in 2015-16. These licences hold 184 MHz spectrum in the 900 MHz band and 34.2 MHz in 1,800 MHz band.

It is mandatory for these companies to bid for spectrum if they have to continue offering mobile and other telecom services as their permit is expiring.

The government had raked in Rs 62,162 crore from the last spectrum auction held in February 2014.

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