Spectrum auction February 2014: Day one summary

Spectrum auction February 2014: Day one summary

The government received bids worth Rs. 39,300 crores on the first day of the spectrum auction, with strong interest for 900MHz airwaves.

"Bids worth over Rs. 39,300 crores were received today. We are confident of exceeding the budget target," Telecom Secretary M F Farooqui told PTI.

The budget for 2013-14 had put a revenue target of Rs. 40,874 crores from spectrum sale in this fiscal. The DoT put on the block about 385MHz of radiowaves in the 1800MHz band in 22 circles and 46MHz in the 900MHz band in three circles of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

Seven rounds took place on day one, with each round of 60 minutes. There was a 20-minute break between rounds.

The auction started as planned after the Supreme Court on Sunday refused to interfere with the order of the telecom tribunal dismissing the pleas of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Loop and Idea for a stay on the spectrum auction and extension of their licences by another 10 years.

Bids for spectrum in 900MHz band were worth over Rs. 16,000 crores and for that in 1800MHz band were about Rs. 23,000 crores, a senior government official told PTI.

According to a DoT report, in 900MHz band, 16 blocks each have been put under the hammer in Delhi and Mumbai circles, while 14 blocks in Kolkata circle.

For more efficient 900MHz airwaves, which drew no takers in the previous auction, the Mumbai circle saw the maximum increase of 44 percent to Rs. 473.24 crores per MHz against base price of Rs. 328 crores per MHz.

The price jumped by 38.52 percent to Rs. 172.16 crores per MHz against base price of Rs. 125 crores per MHz for Kolkata, while Delhi saw an increase of 19.14 percent to Rs. 428.92 per MHz from Rs. 360 crores per MHz. The 900MHz spectrum put under the auction is currently held by Vodafone, Martel and Loop, though their licences that are expiring in November.

For 1800MHz band spectrum, four circles - Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal and UP West - saw excess demand.

Eight telecom firms, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm, are in the fray.

The 2G spectrum in 1800MHz band was put for auction following a Supreme Court order that saw the cancellation of 122 2G licences in February 2012.

The 2G spectrum base price saw marginal rise Bihar from Rs. 7.40 crores to Rs. 7.99 per block, Gujarat from Rs. 28.60 crores to Rs. 29.74 crores, UP (West) from Rs. 12.40 to Rs. 13.14 crores and West Bengal from Rs. 4.20 to Rs. 4.24 per block.

In March 2013, no GSM operators bid at the auction while only CDMA operator Sistema Shyam bought spectrum of about Rs. 3,600 crores in eight of the 21 service areas. The entire auction lasted for just a day.

In November 2012, Rs. 9,407 crores of bids were received for spectrum worth Rs. 28,000 crores on offered. The auction lasted for two days.

The 3G and BWA auction together fetched government over Rs. 1.05 lakh crores in 2010. The 3G auction in 2010 lasted for 34 days while the auction for broadband wireless access airwaves lasted 16 days.

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Further reading: 2G, 3G, 4G, BWA, Band, CDMA, DoT, GSM, Network, Operators, Spectrum, TRAI, Telecom, Tower, Towers
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