Spectrum auction ends after lukewarm response from telcos


New Delhi: The government’s spectrum auction ended on Thursday, with a high a quantum of airwaves remaining unsold.

The sale of radiowaves fetched Rs66,500 crore after five days of auctions that saw lukewarm bidding by telcos. Seven telecom companies — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices — were in the fray for acquiring 3G and 4G spectrum, crucial for maintaining competitive edge in the market and offering next generation services in the world’s second-largest telecom market.

The bidding activity took place only in a few circles with interest continuing to be largely around 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz that can be used by operators to provide 4G services. Telcos has also shown interest in 2100 Mhz (3G/4G) band, 2500 Mhz (4G) band and 800 Mhz (2G/4G) bands. However, telecom operators stayed away from the highly priced 4G radiowaves in 700 Mhz and 900 Mhz bands.

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As much as 2,354.55 MHz of frequencies valued at Rs 5.63 lakh crore at the base price were put up for auction across seven bands. The Finance Ministry in the Budget pegged the revenue target at Rs 98,995 crore from the telecom space. This included Rs 64,000 crore from the auction.