Spectrum allocation to winning companies by May: DoT

The Department of Telecom will take about 2 months to allocate 1800 Mhz band spectrum won by companies in the February auction.

"1800 Megahertz spectrum should be allocated in about two months from the date companies make payment," Telecom Secretary MF Farooqui told PTI.

Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Telewings (Uninor) have won spectrum in 1800 Mhz band cumulatively for Rs 37,572.60 crore.

Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone and Idea have plans to provide 4G services in the 1800 Mhz band, which has been used so far for providing 2G services.

Consumers may get about 10-12 times more Internet speed on mobile phones in 4G compared to average speed they get using 3G services.

Vodafone, Airtel and Idea Cellular also won spectrum in premium 900 Mhz band in which mobile signal cover double the area compared to the 1800 Mhz band cumulatively for about Rs 23,590 crore.

"900 Mhz band spectrum is retained by some of the winners. Rest of the frequencies will be available immediately after expiry of licence in November," Farooqui said.

Government has auctioned 900 Mhz band spectrum held by three mobile licences of Vodafone, two of Airtel and one of Loop that are expiring in November.

Total bids of about Rs 62,162 crore were received for all radiowaves put up for auction.

Bharti, RJio and Idea have said that they will opt for instalment mode for making payments. Spectrum winners are required to make payment by Monday either in part or full.

In case all companies opt for deferred payment then government will get at least Rs 18,296.36 crore this fiscal.

As per spectrum auction rules, companies have option to make upfront payment of 33% for 1800 Mhz band spectrum and 25% for 900 Mhz band.

Rest of the payment will have to be made in 10 annual instalment, starting after 2 years from March 3, with interest of about 10%.

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