Bharti Airtel is in a "very happy situation" compared to other telecom operators in relation to the spectrum auction, scheduled to start tomorrow, Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said today.
Bharti Airtel, the country's largest private telecom operator in terms of subscribers, expects to defend its existing spectrum. "We already have acquired 1800 MHz spectrum in the last auction. We are in a very happy situation amongst all operators.
We hope to defend our existing spectrum," Mittal said on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) here. Eight telecom operators have deposited a whopping Rs 20,435 crore as earnest money for the auction.
Bharti Airtel has deposited Rs 4,336 crore as earnest money for the auction of the radiowaves, which is the second highest after Reliance Jio Infocomm Rs 4,500 crore. Department of Telecom will start the biggest ever auction of 2G and 3G spectrum tomorrow wherein 8 firms will bid to acquire radiowaves in four bands, which may fetch the government over Rs 82,000 crore.
The government plans to sell 380.75 MHz of spectrum in three bands the premium 900 MHz band, 1800 MHz and 800 MHz, besides 5 Mhz in the 2100 Mhz band across 17 out of 22 telecom areas in the country. Most of the spectrum being put up for the auction is presently held by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Telecom.
Their licences are expiring in 2015-16. Mobile licences for Idea Cellular's 9 circles, 6 circles of Airtel and 7 circles each of Vodafone and Reliance Telecom are coming up for renewal.