Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

Eight telecom firms to bid in 2G auction next week

By: Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Posted: January 30, 2014 5:31 am

Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio Infocomm are among eight telecom companies in the fray for next week’s spectrum auction, which may raise Rs 11,300 crore for the government.

The final list of bidders for the sale starting on February 3 also includes Idea Cellular, Telewings (Uninor), Reliance Communications (RCom), Tata Teleservices and Aircel, the Department of Telecom (DoT) said today.

There were no withdrawals of applications, for which the last day was on Tuesday. Three companies were found to be ineligible to bid in some service areas. Vodafone India will not be able to bid in seven circles, RCom in eight and Tata Teleservices in the Delhi area.

Airtel has deposited earnest money of Rs 3,700.25 crore for the auction, Vodafone Rs 2,800 crore and Reliance Jio Rs 2,596.25 crore, according to the DoT list. Airtel had approached the DoT yesterday seeking to reduce its bank guarantees by about a fifth to Rs 2,900 crore.

Idea Cellular deposited Rs 1,567.50 crore, Uninor Rs 330 crore, RCom Rs 198.75 crore, Tata Teleservices Rs 267 crore and Aircel Rs 100 crore. The empowered group of ministers on telecom, headed by finance minister P Chidambaram, decided to levy an annual spectrum usage charge (SUC) on new airwaves for mobile services at 5 per cent of adjusted gross revenue from telecom services. The present rate is in the range of 3-8 per cent.

Operators had sought clarity on SUC ahead of the auction after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended a rate of 3-5 per cent for all players.

The government expects a minimum of Rs 11,300 crore in upfront payments from the auction of airwaves, which are worth Rs 48,685 crore at the base price. It will offer 403 MHz of airwaves in the 1800 MHz band and 46 MHz in the 900 MHz band in the auction.

A new player had to submit a minimum bank guarantee of Rs 1,918.75 crore if it plans to bid for pan-India spectrum in the 1800 MHz band.

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