India’s leading telecom operators have kick started the country’s largest ever spectrum air wave auction. The auction day one has put in combined bids worth INR 53,531 crore, however, the advantageous 700 Mhz bandwidth has not seen any interest so far.
As part of the day one spectrum auction – as per the data released by the department of telecom – the 1800 Mhz and 2300 Mhz spectrum bands – both used for 4G services – witnessed the most action after five rounds of bidding on Saturday.
The 2300 Mhz spectrum band, was among the most sought after bands with a three-pronged fight going on between Airtel, Vodafone and the green field 4G operator Reliance Jio – all looking forward to expand the boundaries of 4G services.
In the 1800 Mhz spectrum band, witnessed intensified bidding in Mumbai and Maharashtra circles. Other circles including Haryana, Kolkata, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh East, witnessed excess demand in this band.
The much sought after 4G band – 800 Mhz – saw bids leading to excess demand in only four circles – Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh East.
On the other hand, there were to takers for the premium and advantageous 700 Mhz band spectrum, which is to be auctioned at a reserve or base price of Rs 11,485 crore per Mhz.
“The auction is on the expected lines- no bidding on 700 MHZ and 1800 MHZ showing interest and that too in the circle where there is some shortage. We should see some intensity over the next day or so and closure of the auction within the next week,” explained, Prashant Singhal, global telecom leader, EY.
The Government has fixed a pan-India reserve price of INR 2,873 crore for spectrum in 1,800 MHz band, INR 3,341 crore for 900 MHz, INR 5,819 crore for 800 MHz, INR 3,746 crore for 2,100 MHz, INR 11,485 crore for 700 MHz and INR 817 crore each for 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands.
This auction is very special as India has put on sale the largest-ever spectrum where spectrum worth Rs 5.63 lakh crore. As much as 2,354.55 megahertz (MHz) of frequencies – more than the cumulative spectrum holding of the top four operators – are being put up for auction in seven bands including the 4G bands of 700 Mhz, 800 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2300 Mhz and 2500 MHz, and 3G bands of 900 Mhz and 2100 Mhz.