The government's spectrum auction kitty today rose to a record Rs 1.08 lakh crore at the end of 13th day with 89 per cent of the 2G and 3G airwaves put on sale provisionally allocated to telecom operators.
The activity, however, is slowing down as the premium 900 Mhz band and 2100 Mhz band, used for 3G services, did not see bidding for any circles today. In the six rounds of auction completed today, telecom operators continued to place bids for 800 MHz and 1800 MHz bands, which can be used for 4G services.
At the end of auction yesterday, the spectrum kitty had grown to Rs 1.07 lakh crore with about 88 per cent of airwaves provisionally allocated to bidders. The government had got about Rs 1.05 lakh crore from the sale of 3G and BWA spectrum in 2010.
In the auction held last year, the government netted Rs 62,162 crore. As per the Department of Telecom (DoT), "The provisional amount committed by bidders at the end of 80th round is over Rs 1,08,000 crore. Majority of service areas are going at a premium over reserve price." About 89 per cent of the airwaves have been provisionally allocated to bidders and the auction would continue tomorrow as there is still some spectrum left which is yet to be sold.
"Robust bidding is going on in 1800 Mhz and 800 Mhz bands and the competitive bidding is expected to continue,"DoT said. Sources said six circles in 800 MHz and two circles in 1800 Mhz witnessed bidding. The circles include Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and North East in 800 Mhz while Himachal and Kerala saw bidding in 1800 MHz. Across all bands, 6-8 circles witnessed activity while there was price increment in 3 circles.
There was, however, no activity today in premium 900 Mhz and 2100 Mhz band. Three circles in 2100 Mhz band, namely Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai have failed to draw bids so far in the auction, though others saw bidding earlier. The government is not disclosing the names of the successful bidders as yet as a case is pending before the Supreme Court.
The next hearing on the case is on March 26. Incumbents Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are locked with Reliance Jio to protect their spectrum they need to carry voice and data in the world's second-biggest smartphone market. In all, eight bidders are in the fray.
A total of 380.75 MHz of spectrum is on offer in 900 MHz band, 1,800 MHz and 800 MHz, while 5 MHz is up for bidding in the 2,100 MHz band across 17 out of 22 telecom areas or circles in the country. Overall, there are 29 licences in 18 service areas which will expire in 2015-16. These licences hold 184 MHz spectrum in the 900 MHz band and 34.2 MHz in 1,800 MHz band.