March 3, 2021 6:05:58 am
The government mopped up an additional Rs 668 crore on day two of the spectrum auction for 4G, bringing the total to Rs 77,814 crore, Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said on Tuesday.
Though the total amount — at more than Rs 77,800 — is far higher than the government expectations of Rs 45,000-Rs 50,000 crore, it is only about 20 per cent of the base price of Rs 3.97 lakh crore that was set by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the spectrum auction. Of the total 2,308 megahertz (MHz) spectrum that was up for grabs, the DoT managed to sell 855.60 MHz spectrum over the last two days.
Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio Infocomm emerged as the highest bidder in the 4G auctions concluded on Tuesday, having bid for 488.35 MHz of the total 855.60 MHz spectrum that was sold over the two days.
Its rival Bharti Airtel was not far behind and bought a total of 335.45 MHz of the total available spectrum sold over the two days.
On the other hand, Vodafone Idea — which had a gross debt of roughly Rs 1.18 lakh crore as of June 2020 — bought only 11.8 MHz spectrum, Prakash said.
As expected, there were two more rounds of bidding on Tuesday, in addition to the four that were conducted on Monday. There were no bids for the 700 MHz and the 2,500 MHz bands even on day two, he added.
Among the telcos, Reliance Jio spent Rs 57,122.65 crore and Bharti Airtel bought Rs 18,698.75 crore, while Vi spent Rs 1,993.40 crore to buy spectrum.
All the spectrum auctioned off over the two days was sold on base price, with the maximum bidding seen in the 800 MHz frequency band. Of the total 230 MHz spectrum available in the 800 MHz band, about 150 MHz or 65 per cent was sold.
On Tuesday, the DoT also revised its estimates of upfront payment receipts for this financial year. The Department now expects payment of up to Rs 20,000 crore from the three telecom operators by March 31.
Prakash said an interministerial committee of the telecom ministry and the Finance Ministry will meet over the next 10 days and give its final approval for the auctions conducted over the last two days.
“Most of the operators have consolidated their positions in the existing spectrum bands in which they were operating and taken spectrum in the bands,” he added.
For the auctions this time, the government has put on offer frequencies in the 700, 800, 900, 1,800, 2,100, 2,300, and 2,500 MHz bands. A total 2,251 MHz of spectrum for a reserve price of Rs 3.92 lakh crore are up for bids.
On Monday, the Centre had received bids in the 800,900, 1,800, 2,100 and 2,300 MHz bands, while no bids were received in the 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands. Government officials, however, said that the price of high base price 700 MHz band and the fact that it can also be used in 5G services could be one of the reasons the spectrum in that band remained unsold.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.