The government grossed around R53,530 crore on the first day of spectrum auctions on Saturday after five rounds of bidding. However, there were no bids in the 700 MHz band, where the reserve price is the highest at R11,485 crore per MHz. This establishes that, as feared, this band is not going to get any bids and is a complete washout because of the astronomically high reserve price set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. The chances of no bids in the coming days in 700 MHz is certain, as most points get exhausted in the first round itself and there is very little option to park points in other bands and come back to 700 MHz in future rounds.
Sources told FE that the maximum bids are coming in the 4G band of 1800 MHz band. On day one, there were only two circles — Karnataka and Odisha — where there was no bidding in this band. The other 4G band — 2300 MHz — saw all spectrum sold out with intense bidding in Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Even the 3G band of 2100 MHz did not see much bidding, with 13 circles seeing no bids. In 800 MHz, only eight circles saw bidding and only one circle — Gujarat — saw prices going above the reserve price. In the 2500 MHz band, 13 circles got no bids, while there were bids in nine circles. In the 900 MHz band, where there’s least spectrum on sale, there were no bids in four circles.
The DoT has put on sale spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 and 2500 MHz bands, with a total price tag of R5.63 lakh crore at base rates. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Aircel are participating.