900 MHz, most sought after band

The Central Government has so far been ensured of at least Rs.50,000 crore from the ongoing sale of spectrum as the third day of the auction on Wednesday saw telecom companies still continuing to bid aggressively for 900 MHz band radio waves on offer in three metro circles of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

“Bids of around Rs.50,000 crore were received at the end of 21 rounds on [the] third day of spectrum auction…Besides 900 MHz band, demand for 1800 MHz in many circles also picked up today [Wednesday]. We will continue with [the] auction tomorrow,” Telecom Secretary M. F. Farooqui told journalists here. The Telecom Secretary also said the government would get at least Rs.15,000 crore in the current fiscal based on the bids received at the end of the third day. Successful bidders will pay 25 per cent of the winning price upfront. The remaining will have to be paid in instalments till 2026.

Government sources said bids worth Rs.20,000 crore had been received for 900 MHz band and Rs.30,000 crore for 1800 MHz band. Aggressive bidding was seen for the 900 MHz band in the three metros where licences of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India will expire in November this year and their operations could be in trouble unless they buy radio waves to ensure continuity of their services.

In the 900 MHz band, Wednesday saw spectrum price in Delhi touching Rs.574 crore, up by 60 per cent; Mumbai Rs.563 crore, up by 71 per cent; and Kolkata Rs.193 crore, up by 53 per cent. Similarly, in the 1800 MHz band, after Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh (West) circles, excess demand was seen in Assam, Bihar and West Bengal circles.

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