Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone raked in bids of around Rs 50,000 crore at the end of third day of wireless spectrum auction today, surpassing landmarks of previous two sales.
In all 21 rounds of bidding were concluded by end of day-3 with bids pouring in for all the 22 circles or regional zones.
"Bids of around Rs 50,000 crore received at the end of 21 rounds on third day of spectrum auction," Telecom Secretary MF Farooqui said.
Eight companies including Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are competing for two bandwidth slots - 900 MegaHertz and 1,800 MHz in 22 circles - offered in the third spectrum auction within 15 months.
Aggressive bidding was seen for the 900 MHz, which is in short supply and is being auctioned in just three cities, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata -- markets where licences of Bharti and Vodafone are to expire in November unless they buy the radiowaves in this round of auction.
"Besides 900 Mhz band, now demand for 1800 Mhz in many circles also picked up today. We will continue with auction tomorrow," he said.
The auction, which began on Monday, has surpassed November 2012 and March 2013 auction both in terms of revenue and duration.
After 21 rounds, the government has received bids worth Rs 20,000 crore for 900 MHz band and Rs 30,000 crore for 1800 MHz band.
Farooqui said the government will get at least Rs 15,000 crore in the current fiscal based on the bids received at the end of third day, even if the bidders opt to pay the final auction price in installments.
Demand for 1800 Mhz spectrum increased in 10 circles with competition intensifying in Assam, Delhi and West Bengal Service area.
In premium 900 Mhz band, rigorous bidding was seen in Delhi service area where price increased by about 60 per cent to Rs 574.08 crore compared to base price fixed by government.
The 900 Mhz spectrum price in Mumbai service area soared about 72 per cent to Rs 563.09 crore per block from base price.
Price of airwaves in this band increased by about 54 per cent in Kolkata to Rs 192.71 crore.
The government's two previous auctions flopped because the floor price discouraged bidders.
Out of five online spectrum auctions, the present auction is largest in terms of quantum of airwaves put for sale and third longest till date in terms