Pointing towards a tepid response by mobile operators to the ongoing spectrum auction, the government grossed around R60,969 crore at the end of the third day of the spectrum auctions on Tuesday. This is R4,177 crore more than what it clocked on the second day — October 3 — and R7,438 crore higher from the first day. The activity level has increased from 90% to 100% now while with another six rounds of bids on the third day the total number of rounds so far stands at 17.
Department of telecommunications sources said that so far around 900 MHz spectrum have been sold out of the total quantum of 2353 MHz put on auction, which is cumulatively higher than what was sold in the last two auctions held in 2014 and 2015. However, industry sources said this comparison is not apt as this time 2300 and 2500 MHz bands have also been put for sale, which was not the case in the previous two rounds.
The 2300, 2500 and 1800 MHz bands, which are 4G bands, have emerged as the most sought after ones. In fact, bidding increased in the 2500 MHz band on Tuesday with only three circles not receiving bids. On Monday, 12 circles had not received any bids in this band.
As reported earlier, there were no bids for 700 MHz spectrum, which means that there will not be any bids in the coming days either in this band because most of the 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. The reason for the complete washout in this band is the reserve price, which is the highest at R11,485 crore per MHz.
As reported earlier, the reason for no bids in the 900 MHz band is because there’s very little, fragmented spectrum here across only four circles.
In 800 MHz, bids were received only in the four circles of Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (east). Of these, price increases over the reserve price were in Gujarat (17.7% over the reserve price), Punjab (5.07%), and Rajasthan (7.15%).
In the 1800 MHz band, bids were received in 20 out of 22 circles — only Karnataka and Odisha didn’t receive bids, which was the case on day one and two also. Price increases were in Mumbai (48.74% over reserve price), and UP east (6.57%).
In 2100 MHz, which is a 3G band, no bids were received across 11 circles. On day two, no bids were received in 12 circles. Operators were bidding for select circles such as the Delhi, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, UP (east) and Haryana circles. There were no price increases in this band.
In 2300 MHz, all circles received bids while price increase was witnessed in five circles — Andhra Pradesh (0.5% over reserve price), Bihar (2.5%), Gujarat (56.89%), Kerala (9.79%), and Maharashtra (8.73%).
The department of telecommunications has put on sale spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 and 2500 MHz, 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.