Spectrum auction Day 7: Bids reach Rs 58,332 cr after 49 rounds

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Feb 11 2014, 03:23am hrs
Spectrum auctionGovt will get at least Rs 17,362.66 cr in the current fiscal from auction in case companies opt for instalment mode. Express
Telecom companies have put in bids worth Rs 58,332 crore in spectrum auction at the end of 49 rounds on the 7th day of bidding today.

The amount is about 86 per cent of what 3G radiowave auction fetched in 2010, although the current round has far more spectrum for two bands - 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz - on the block.

"Total 49 rounds were over today. Total bids worth Rs 58,332.82 crore were received which is 21.7 per cent more than the total value of radiowaves put up for the auction, at the base or reserve price. Bidding will continue tomorrow," Telecom Secretary MF Farooqui said.

He added that bids worth Rs 34,743.2 crore have been received for 1800 Mhz - about 98.8 per cent of the total value of radiowaves put up for sale, at the base price.

However, in case of 900 Mhz, which has received bids worth Rs 23,589.62 crore, the value has exceeded by 85 per cent at the base price.

The government will now get at least Rs 17,362.66 crore in the current fiscal from the auction in case companies opt for instalment mode.

The bidders can pay the part of the money upfront and the remaining amount over a maximum of 10 yearly instalment.

Out of five online spectrum auctions, the present auction is largest in terms of radiowaves on sale, and third longest till date in terms of duration.

3G auction in 2010 lasted for 34 days, broadband wireless access (BWA) ended in 16 days. 2G auction in November 2012, on the other hand, ended in just two days, while the CDMA auction in March last year concluded the same day.

There is no time limit for the sale of spectrum and the duration of the current auction will depend on the appetite of the eight companies in the fray -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Telewings (Uninor) and Reliance Communications.

The government has put on the block about 385 Mhz of spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band, and 46 Mhz in 900 Mhz band.

The 3G auction had fetched the government Rs 16,750.58 crore for 5 Mhz of pan-India spectrum -- a total of Rs 67,718.95 crore.

At the end of 7th day of spectrum auction today, the price for 900 Mhz in Delhi was up by about 12 per cent at Rs 3,704.8 crore per 5 Mhz compared to 3G price; for Kolkata was 78 per cent higher at Rs 973.15 crore, but for Mumbai it was still lower than the 3G price by about 14 per cent at Rs 2,815.45 crore.

At Rs 741 crore per megahertz bid as of today, the price of 900 Mhz band in Delhi has more than doubled compared to base price fixed by government. For Kolkata, at Rs 194.63 crore per Mhz, it is up by over 55 per cent and for Mumbai, Rs 563 crore per Mhz it is about 72 per cent higher than the reserve price.

The price of 2G spectrum band saw almost 4 times jump in Assam service area at Rs 26.95 crore per Mhz. In Maharashtra, price of 2G spectrum closed at Rs 265.7 crore per Mhz, about 1.5 times of base price, and Madhya Pradesh price of closed at Rs 47.7 crore per Mhz, more than double the reserve price fixed by government.

High demand of 1800 Mhz spectrum band was seen in Gujarat as well where price increased by 61 per cent, Delhi registered 58 per cent increase and UP West 53 per cent compared to base price at the end of 49th round.

The Union Budget for 2013-14 had set a target of Rs 40,874 crore in revenues from spectrum, including usage fee and so on. A bumper collection from the current radiowaves auction would help the government keep the rising fiscal deficit under control.

Overall, the country's fiscal deficit at Rs 5.16 lakh crore has already crossed 95 per cent of the budget target in the first nine months of 2013-14.

Till date, despite aggressive bidding, price of 1800 Mhz band has gone beyond the reserve price only in 11 out of 22 service areas Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mumbai, UP East, UP West and West Bengal.