Eight firms submit bids for much-awaited spectrum auction

The Department of Telecom on Thursday took yet another step towards the much-anticipated spectrum auction with eight applicants submitting the ‘bidder ownership compliance certificate’. The DoT will now assess the pre-qualification of bidders on Saturday, which will be followed by the auction on February 3.

The eight companies participating in the auction are — Vodafone India, Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications (of Anil Ambani), Reliance Jio Infocomm (of Mukesh Ambani) and Telewings Communications.

About 403 MHz of 2G spectrum in the 1800 MHz band, and about 45 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band are being put up for auction. The government is expecting to earn around Rs.40,000 crore from the auction. This fresh round of auction is likely to be contested aggressively between old operators such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone and relatively new ones. The Union Cabinet has approved the base price of Rs.1,765 crore per MHz for 1800MHz spectrum, which is just over 35 per cent less than the previous auction. For 900MHz spectrum, the base price has been fixed at Rs.360 crore per MHz for Delhi, Rs.328 crore for Mumbai and Rs.125 crore for Kolkata, a decline of over 50 per cent from previous auctions.