The government's spectrum auction kitty today rose to Rs 1,07,000 crore at the end of 12th day of the biggest sale of 2G and 3G airwaves. As per the Department of Telecom (DoT), about 88 per cent spectrum has been provisionally allocated to telecom firms at the end of 74 rounds.
"The provisional amount committed by bidders at the end of 74th round is over Rs 1,07,000 crore. Majority of service areas are going at a premium over reserve price, DoT said. The total auction proceeds stood at Rs 1,03,046 crore at the end of 11th day with over 87 per cent of the airwaves provisionally allocated to bidders.
DoT said seven rounds of bidding were completed today. "There is robust bidding going on in 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz bands," it added. The auction will continue tomorrow as about 12 per cent of spectrum is yet to be sold. Sources said 800 MHz continued to see aggressive bidding with price increment in 3 circles.
The circles of Assam, Delhi and Maharashtra drew interest of telecom operators and there was excess demand for these circles at the end of 74th round. On the whole, 8-10 circles witnessed bidding activity today, sources said. Bidding was seen in Himachal Pradesh, UP East and Kerala in 1800 MHz, and 900 MHz in West Bengal, according to sources.
There was, however, no activity today in 2100 Mhz band, used for offering 3G services. Three circles in the band, namely Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai have failed to draw bids so far in the auction, though others saw bidding earlier. 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. 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. A total of 380.75 MHz of spectrum is on offer in the premium 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. The 3G and BWA auctions together fetched government over Rs 1.05 lakh crore in 2010 while Rs 62,162 crore was raked in from last spectrum auction held in February 2014.