The spectrum auction entered the 15th round on Day 3, with the bidding hitting the 100 per cent ‘activity level’, but there is still no demand for the premium 700 MHz and 900 MHz bands.
According to industry sources, the bidding activity has touched the 100 per cent level, a development that is being interpreted by certain sections of the industry as being indicative of the last phase.
Sources said there is no demand yet for the 700 MHz and 900 MHz frequencies while bidding interest continues to be largely around 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz that can be used by operators to provide 4G services.
On Monday, after conclusion of the second day, the bidding had slowed, with total bids advancing to Rs 56,872 crore as against Rs 53,531 crore on the previous day. Yesterday, the bidding had closed with a cumulative 11 rounds.
As much as 2,354.55 MHz of frequencies have been put up for auction across seven bands valued at Rs 5.63 lakh crore at base price.
The premium 700 MHz band alone has the potential to fetch bids worth over Rs 4 lakh crore if the entire spectrum in this band is sold at the base price. However, at a reserve or base price of Rs 11,485 crore per MHz, it is considered to be priced very expensive in spite of its inherent advantages in terms of propagation ability and potential savings.
Seven telecom companies — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices — are in the fray for acquiring 3G and 4G airwaves that are going to be crucial for maintaining competitive edge in the market and offering next generation services in the world’s second-largest telecom market.