Spectrum auction fetches Rs.1.10 lakh crore to Centre

The auction for airwaves in four bands ended after 115 rounds of bidding.   | Photo Credit: P_V_SIVAKUMAR

The biggest telecom spectrum auction ended on Wednesday after 19 days of fierce bidding that fetched about Rs.1.10 lakh crore to the government.

‘The auction has concluded,’’ an official source told PTI.

The auction for airwaves in four bands ended after 115 rounds of bidding, a source said.

The total value of bids stood at Rs.1,09,874 crore.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) will disclose details of the result and names of successful bidders after the Supreme Court’s permission as a case is pending before the apex court.

The spectrum auction included airwaves held by nine licences of Idea Cellular, seven each of Reliance Telecom and Vodafone and six permits of Bharti Airtel that were expiring in 2015-16.

These airwaves mostly included frequencies in 900 Mhz band and 1800 Mhz band.

The government also auctioned airwaves in 1800 Mhz band that remained unsold in 2014, and 800 Mhz or CDMA band frequencies that were left after sale in 2013.

A total of 380.75 MHz of spectrum was put on sale in the premium 900 MHz band, 1,800 MHz and 800 MHz, while 5 MHz was up for bidding in the 2,100 MHz band, used for 3G mobile services, across 17 out of 22 telecom circles.

As per auction document, in case of deferred payment option, telecom operators are required to pay an upfront payment of 33 per cent in case of 2100 MHz, 1800 Mhz bands and 25 per cent for 900 MHz and 800 MHz bands within ten calendar days of the close of auction.

The winners will pay the rest of the amount over a period of 12 years — two years moratorium and then ten yearly instalments.

While Idea, Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Communications participated in the auction mainly to defend their existing spectrum holding, Reliance Jio, Tata Teleservices, Telewings (Uninor) and Aircel participated to buy additional spectrum.

At the minimum or auction start price, the total value of spectrum in 2,100 Mega-Hertz band stood at about Rs.17,555 crore and that of in 800 MHz, 900 Mhz and 1800 MHz bands was about Rs.64,840 crore.

The price of airwaves in 800 Mhz and 900 Mhz has seen significant rise over the value fixed by the government.

The price of 800 Mhz spectrum, now being used for CDMA, saw about two-fold rise over the base price across various telecom service areas in the current auction.

There was no taker for this spectrum in 2012 auctions and only one bidder in auctions held in March, 2013.

The 3G auction conducted in 2010 was the longest auction that ended after 34 days of bidding and fetched the government about Rs.67,718 crore. The 3G auction along with spectrum for broadband wireless access airwaves, that can be used for 4G, jointly fetched government bids worth Rs.1.05 lakh crore.

The government got commitment of about Rs.62,162 crore from the sale of 900 MHz and 1800 Mhz spectrum in ten days long February 2014 auction.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 2:03:08 AM |

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