2G auctions to fetch under half of govts Rs 45k-cr target

Written by Rishi Raj | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 5 2012, 07:08am hrs
With Videocon pulling out of the CDMA auctions last week, the government just lost a potential Rs 6,500 crore of revenues in the forthcoming 2G auctions. Videocon had deposited money for nine possible CDMA circles and for a likely total of 26 slots. Along with the very low interest shown by both existing and new GSM mobile players, its likely that next weeks auctions will not fetch the government more than half the Rs 45,000 crore it was budgeting for.

Videocon pulling out of the bid also puts an end to the speculation its licences would be bought over by Reliance Industries once it won the bids. Based on the R648 crore of earnest money deposits (EMD) by Videocon, the company is likely to bid for eight or nine B or C circles, hardly making it a likely target for RIL.

Theoretically, Videocon can bid for Delhi and Mumbai, but the EMD of R105 crore per slot in these circles means the company will use up most of its EMD buying up just one of these circles being a newcomer, it needs to buy a minimum of four slots in each circle.

Idea, with the highest EMD of R1,306 crore can bid in all circles which includes Delhi and Mumbai. But whether it will bid for these two is unclear. It has 8 MHz in Delhi but has only 4.4 MHz in Mumbai; so chances are it will bid in Mumbai if it has to bid for just one. Telenors R1,096-crore EMD can theoretically allow it to bid for both Delhi and Mumbai, but this will exhaust R840 crore of its EMDs which is why the company has already said it will bid for the B and C circles it was operating in before its licences were cancelled. Bharti Airtels R103 crore will get it to bid in four or five circles, and chances are these will be Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal, North East and J&K where it has just 6.2 MHz of spectrum.

Vodafones EMD of R229 crore, similarly, is likely to be used up in eight or nine circles. Since the EMD of Delhi and Mumbai circles is R105 crore per slot, the telco can bid for them as well. But it already has 10 MHz of spectrum in both circles, apart from the 5MHz of 3G, and so may not need more here.

All told, the GSM auctions can fetch the government a maximum of Rs 34,000 crore and the CDMA auctions Rs 11,000 crore. Based on the likely bidding (see table), the government will get Rs 21,332 crore in the GSM circles and Rs 154 crore in the CDMA circles.

In Delhi, for instance, the 8 GSM slots on bid can fetch a theoretical maximum of Rs 5,544 crore, but given the maximum number of slots that will be bid for will be 2, the government will likely get Rs 1,386 crore. In Mumbai, similarly, while 8 slots can fetch a theoretical maximum of Rs 5,428 crore, the 6 slots which are likely to see bids will fetch Rs 4,071 crore.