The ongoing spectrum auctions continued to evoke lukewarm response with the government getting an additional R2,482 crore on Wednesday, thereby taking the total amount grossed in the last four days to R63,451 crore in a total of 23 rounds. Six rounds of bidding took place on Wednesday. Compared with day one, there’s been a gain of R9,920 crore.
According to department of telecommunications officials, a total of 958 MHz of spectrum has been sold so far out of a total of 2353 MHz put up on sale.
A noteworthy feature of the auctions is that though there’s bidding taking place for the 2100 MHz band, which is a 3G band, there’s been no price increase there with all spectrum going at the reserve price. Prashant Singhal, global telecom leader, EY, said, “Nearly half of 3G spectrum put up for auction is witnessing traction, though not over any premium. The operators are clearly looking to plug the coverage gap in their 3G footprint.”
In 800 MHz, there were bids in four circles but the price increase over the reserve price was only in Rajasthan and Punjab.
In 1800 MHz, there were bids in all 22 circles but the price increase was seen in only two circles, Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh (east).
In 2100 MHz there were no bids in 11 circles and no price rise. In the case of 2300 MHz, while there were bids across the 22 circles, no price increase was witnessed. In 2500 MHz there were no bids in two circles and no price increase.
The trend of bidding remains the same — that of 4G bands of 1800, 2300 and 2500 MHz witnessing activity with some price increase in some circles in some of the bands.
The department of telecommunications has put on sale spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands, with a total price tag of Rs 5.63 lakh crore at base rates. Seven telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices and Aircel had qualified for participating in the spectrum sale.