Government has garnered bids worth around Rs 77,000 crore at the end of three days of spectrum auction as telecom operators continued to bid aggressively. "The bidding has taken place in all bands. At present, a value of approximately Rs 77,000 crore has been committed by bidders in respect of provisionally won spectrum.
There is still spectrum, which is yet to be sold. Bidding would recommence tomorrow," the DoT said. The DoT added the auction of spectrum in 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz Bands recommenced today and 6 rounds of bidding were completed. Till now, 17 rounds of bidding has taken place in three days.
The auction will continue tomorrow, it added. At the end of 11 rounds yesterday, the bids value stood at Rs 65,000 crore. The government is expecting to raise over Rs 82,000 crore from the auction, but the final amount is expected to go much higher if bids continue at such an aggressive pace. However, the government will not release results of the auction because of a court ruling. 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 fray. The auction is the biggest ever sale of 2G and 3G airwaves where government is selling spectrum in four bands: 2,100 megahertz (Mhz), 1,800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz. On the third day today, operators continued aggressive bidding in 900 MHz band with price increment in various circles whereas there was not much bidding in Mumbai, Delhi, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh circles in the 2,100 MHz band. Good bidding was also witnessed in 800 MHz and 1,800 MHz bands.
Asian brokerage firm CLSA in a report said that in a surprise, large data markets of Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh saw no price increase in 2100 MHz band, despite only one block of available spectrum. 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.
Most of the spectrum put up for auction is presently held by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Telecom. Their licences are expiring in 2015-16. Mobile licences for nine circles of Idea Cellular, six circles of Airtel and seven circles each of Vodafone and Reliance Telecom are coming up for renewal. 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. It is mandatory for these companies to bid for spectrum if they have to continue offering mobile and other telecom services as their permit is expiring. The government had raked in Rs 62,162 crore from the last spectrum auction held in February 2014.