Telecom Operators Eye Four Spectrum Bands As Auction Enters Round 4 On Day 1

Telecom Operators Eye Four Spectrum Bands As Auction Enters Round 4 On Day 1

Spectrum auction for over 10,500 Mhz mobile services worth over Rs 96,238 crore started at 10 am, an official statement said.

PTIUpdated: Tuesday, June 25, 2024, 04:24 PM IST
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Telecom operators showed interest in four spectrum bands -- 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, and 2,500 MHz -- as the auction entered the fourth round around 3pm on Tuesday, sources said.

Spectrum auction for over 10,500 Mhz mobile services worth over Rs 96,238 crore started at 10 am, an official statement said.

Four spectrum bands

"There was activity in four spectrum rounds initially -- 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, and 2,500 MHz band. Spectrum auction entered the fourth round around 3pm," a source told PTI.

It is the 10th spectrum auction since the process for sale of radiowaves started through an online bidding process in 2010.

The last spectrum auction was held in August 2022, which, for the first time, included radio waves for 5G services.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has initiated the spectrum auction and notice inviting applications was issued on March 8.

"The Ministry of Communications announced that the following spectrum bands will go up for bidding in the upcoming auction -- 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300 MHz and 26 GHz.

"Total quantum of spectrum being auctioned is 10,522.35 MHz in various bands valuing Rs 96,238.45 crores at reserve prices," the statement said.

It is the 10th spectrum auction since the process for sale of radiowaves started through an online bidding process in 2010.

It is the 10th spectrum auction since the process for sale of radiowaves started through an online bidding process in 2010. | File/ Representative image

The 3,300 Mhz band and 26 Mhz band are seen as suitable bands for 5G services.

Reliance Jio has deposited the highest earnest money of Rs 3,000 crore for the auction, which provides the company with the potential to bid for maximum radio waves.

According to pre-qualified bidder details released by the Department of Telecommunications, Bharti Airtel has submitted the earnest money deposit (EMD) of Rs 1,050 crore and Vodafone Idea (VIL) of Rs 300 crore.

Telecom industry body Cellular Operators' Association of India Director General SP Kochhar said the 5G auctions will catalyze the rapid rollout of 5G services across the country, leading to enhanced coverage and vastly improved connectivity.

"By bridging the digital divide, the 5G spectrum auctions will ensure that even the most remote areas of our country gain access to high-speed internet, thereby fostering greater economic opportunities and social advancement.

"The auctions also symbolize our commitment to 'Viksit Bharat' and we are confident that the outcomes of these auctions will lay a strong foundation for a prosperous and digitally empowered India," Kochhar said.

According to telecom expert Parag Kar, Reliance Jio can bid for 37.36 per cent of the total spectrum value based on EMD, Bharti 13.07 per cent and Vodafone Idea 3.73 per cent.

As per Kar's analysis, Jio may be keen on bidding for 800 Mhz band only, which may lead to an estimated cash flow of Rs 18,000 crore.

"Bharti's targeted approach in the upcoming auction is aimed at consolidating and enhancing its spectrum efficiency. The total outflow for Bharti will be Rs 11,512 crore at the reserve price," Kar said in his blog.

Debt-ridden Vodafone Idea (VIL) is likely to focus on strategic acquisitions, particularly in the 26 GHz band, to bring down its spectrum usage charge.

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