Spectrum Auction: Three Telcos Place Bids Worth Rs 77,146 Crore On First Day, Exceed Govt’s Pre-Bid Estimates

The telecom operators on Monday (1 March) placed bids worth Rs 77,146 crore in India’s first 4G spectrum auction in over four years, exceeding governnment’s expectation of Rs 45,000 crore.

A total of 2308.80 MHz spectrum is being put to auction by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) with an aim to raise at least Rs 3.92 lakh crore.

The auction, which began at 10 am on Monday, include 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. Four rounds of bidding took place on Monday, according to a statement by the Ministry of Communications.

“The value of the spectrum for which there are provisional winning bids is Rs. 77,146 crore. This has already substantially exceeded pre-bid estimates of Rs. 45,000 crore,” the statement added.

Another one or two rounds of bidding are expected today (2 March) before the auction concludes.

Three telecom operators – Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd, and Reliance Jio Infocomm – are participating in the auction.

Bids were received for radio airwaves in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz and 2,300MHz bands. Spectrum in the 700MHz and 2,500MHz bands remained unsold on day one.

“Bidding will continue in the first half tomorrow (Tuesday)… There were three bidders in today’s auction versus seven players in the 2016 auction. Of the total spectrum put up for sale, bids of R77,146 crore were received,” he said.

The government received bids for 89 per cent of the 2,300MHz band, while 65 per cent of 800MHz spectrum was taken. Airwaves in the 900MHz, 1,800MHz and 2,100MHz saw 38 per cent, 41 per cent and 9 per cent bids, respectively, reports Livemint.

The e-auction is based on Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending Auction (SMRA) methodology. Available spectrum in all bands is simultaneously put to auction in all the Licensed Service Areas (LSAs), the statement said.

“In the 2016 spectrum auction, where there were 7 bidders, the spectrum sold was 41 per cent by quantity and 12 per cent by value of the total spectrum put to auction. The corresponding figures in the 2021 spectrum auction so far are 37 per cent and 19 per cent respectively, with 3 participants,” the statement said.