Over 855.60 MHz of airwaves were bought for Rs 77,814.80 crores in two days of auction after six rounds of bidding
New Delhi: Reliance Jio on Tuesday emerged as the biggest bidder in the telecom spectrum auction, conducted by the government, acquiring spectrum worth Rs 57,122.65 crores. Another prominent bidder, Bharti Airtel, also picked up radio waves worth Rs 18,699 crores in the auction, while rival Vodafone Idea bought spectrum worth Rs 1,993.40 crores.
It was India’s first auction of telecom spectrum in five years and ended on the second day with a total of Rs 77,814.80 crores of airwaves being bought.
According to the government, 855.60 MHz of airwaves were bought for Rs 77,814.80 crores in two days of auction after six rounds of bidding, which concluded on Tuesday. “While there were no bidders for 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands, only 15 MHz, or 8.57 per cent of the available spectrum, was acquired in 2,100 MHz band,” the statement released by the ministry of communications said.
Over 2,250 MHz of spectrum, that carry telecom signals, in seven bands worth nearly Rs 4 lakh crores at the reserve or start price, was offered for bidding in the auction that began on Monday. The government, however, had received bids of Rs 77,146 crores on the first day of the auction.
“The value of the spectrum for which there are winning bids is Rs 77,814.80 crores. Hence, incremental bids for Rs 668.20 crores were made (second day) today,” telecom secretary Anshu Prakash said in the statement, adding that out of the total 2308.80 MHz of spectrum put up for auction, the government had received bids for 855.60 MHz.
“Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) for the spectrum acquired in this auction will be payable at the rate of three per cent of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) of the licensee, excluding revenue from wireline services,” the statement said.
There were only three bidders this year -- Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio -- against seven bidders during the last spectrum auction in 2016. The department of telecommunications aimed to raise at least Rs 3.92 lakh crores by auctioning the entire spectrum.
The DoT, however, auctioned over 2,308 units of spectrum across the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. Bids were received for radio airwaves in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz and 2,300MHz bands. Unfortunately, the spectrum in the 700MHz and 2,500MHz bands remained unsold.
Telecom experts, however, said the 700 MHz band did not find any takers as they are too costly due to its high base price, nearly Rs 2 lakh crores, like the 2016 spectrum auction. “The 700 MHz airwaves will remain largely unsold as it can be used for the deployment of the 5G technology, thus making it the most expensive band,” they said.