Telcos submit Rs 14,653 cr for spectrum auction

Jio tops list with Rs 6,500 cr, Vodafone Rs 2,740 cr, Idea Rs 2,000 cr & Airtel Rs 1,980 cr

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: September 20, 2016 2:33 am
spectrum auction, union cabinet spectrum auction, Jio, vodafone, idea, trai, dot, telecom spectrum, spectrum auction, 700mhz spectrum auction, tech news, technology The telecom operators will get eligibility points in correspondence with the earnest money deposit and it is indicative of a firm’s strategy to bid in specific circles and spectrum bands.

Seven telecom firms, which have applied to participate in the upcoming spectrum auction beginning October 1, have made earnest money deposit of Rs 14,653 crore to acquire rights to use spectrum in seven frequencies. This is compared with the same operators depositing Rs 19,711 crore in February 2015 auctions, when lesser bands were up for grabs.

This year, new player Reliance Jio has deposited Rs 6,500 crore, and is eligible to place bids in all of the 22 circles across bands. Vodafone India is the second highest earnest money depositor at Rs 2,740 crore followed by Idea Cellular at Rs 2,000 crore and Bharti Airtel at Rs 1,980 crore.

The telecom operators will get eligibility points in correspondence with the earnest money deposit and it is indicative of a firm’s strategy to bid in specific circles and spectrum bands. This is the first time that government will auction the 700 MHz band, considered to be the most premium as the estimated cost of providing service through it is about one-third of 3G under the 2100 MHz band. A firm opting to buy spectrum in 700 MHz band will need to shell out a minimum of Rs 57,425 crore. Total spectrum worth Rs 4,01,975 crore at base price in 700 MHz band is being put up for auction.

Tata Teleservices has submitted EMD of Rs 1,000 crore, Reliance Communications Rs 313 crore and Aircel Rs 120 crore.

Mobile frequencies in seven bands — 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2,500 MHz — will be put on the block in the upcoming auction. All the airwaves being put up for auction can be used to deploy 4G-LTE technology.

The finance ministry in the Union Budget had pegged the revenue target at Rs 98,995 crore from the telecom space, which includes Rs 64,000 crore from the auction of about 2,354.55 MHz of spectrum and the rest from various levies and services this financial year. However, according to internal estimates of the DoT, spectrum worth just 50 per cent of the base price is expected to be picked up by the operators in this year’s auctions. A senior DoT official, on condition of anonymity, had told The Indian Express that airwaves worth Rs 2,74,800 crore is likely to be bought by telecom companies this year against a reserve price of Rs 5,56,000 crore as approved by the ministry based on the recommendations of the sector regulator.

Of this, spectrum only in the premium 700 MHz band has a base price of over Rs 4,00,000 crore, of which, the DoT official cited above said, it was estimated that companies could pick up close to Rs 1,50,000 crore worth of spectrum. Operators and analysts alike have criticised the high reserve price of the 700 MHz band, which is deemed best for deploying 4G services, particularly due to the relatively immature handset and equipment eco-system for the frequency.

As per information released by DoT on Monday, Tata Teleservices can bid for spectrum in all bands in Mumbai and Maharashtra circles, and 800 MHz band (known as CDMA service band) across all circles except Assam and North East (NE), and 900 MHz in all circles barring Assam, NE and Delhi. It can bid for 3G spectrum in Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (West). It is not eligible to bid for premium 700 MHz band spectrum except in Mumbai and Maharashtra.

Similarly, there are host of restriction on bidding eligibility of Aircel. It cannot bid for spectrum in 700, 800 and 2500 MHz in any circle. The firm has been found to be ineligible for bidding in 13 out of 22 circles for 3G spectrum which include Tamil Nadu, UP (East), Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, etc. It can only bid for spectrum in 900 and 1800 MHz band across circles. Reliance Communications is eligible to bid for spectrum across country except North East. With PTI

Trai seeks congestion data within 2 days

New Delhi: The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has sought data on congestion from Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Jio, pertaining to calls from September 15-19, and would analyse it to see who’s at fault and what action should be taken, chairman RS Sharma said on Monday on the sidelines of an industry function.

The regulator has also asked for details on number portability requests and rejections. Operators will have to submit the data within the next two days. “We are very clear that customer experience, quality of services, and his interests are extremely important,” Sharma said. RJio has been sparring with incumbent operators since the past few days stating that majority of its calls are failing since incumbents have not provided it sufficient points of interconnect. FE

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