Spectrum auction into 10th day, bidding starts from Rs 61k cr

Spectrum auction today entered the 10th day of bidding and started off from Rs 61,091.83 crore in terms of value.

"The auction has started with 64th round of bidding," an official said.

The bidding in 900 MHz band has stabilised as there was no activity for any of the three circles put up for auction in the last two days, whereas aggressive bidding was still going on for a few circles in 1800 Mhz band yesterday.

"Total bids worth Rs 61,091.83 crore, which is about 27% more than the spectrum value at the base price, were received at the end of 63 rounds on the 9th day," Telecom Secretary MF Farooqui said.

The bid value for spectrum - 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bands - has now reached over 90% of the money that government received in the 3G spectrum auction in 2010, although a larger quantum of radiowaves has been put on the block in the current round.

Bids worth Rs 37,502.21 crore, amounting to 106.6% of radiowaves, for spectrum in 1800 Mhz band have been received; and for the premium 900 Mhz band, the amount is Rs 23,589.62 crore.

The price of radiowaves in the 900 Mhz band is now 85% more than the base price.

The government will now get at least Rs 18,273 crore in the current fiscal from the auction in case companies opt for instalment mode.

The bidders can pay the part of the money upfront and the remaining amount over a maximum of 10 yearly instalment.

Spectrum price in Assam increased 5 times of its base price at the end of the 9th day of auction rounds at Rs 34.75 crore per megahertz.

Demand for airwaves frequencies in 1800 Mhz band was seen in Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai service area yesterday.

Out of five online spectrum auctions, the present auction is largest in terms of radiowaves on sale, and third longest till date in terms of duration.

3G auction in 2010 lasted for 34 days, broadband wireless access (BWA) ended in 16 days. 2G auction in November 2012, on the other hand, ended in just two days, while the CDMA auction in March last year concluded the same day.

There is no time limit for the sale of spectrum and the duration of the current auction will depend on the appetite of the eight companies in the fray -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Telewings (Uninor) and Reliance Communications.

The government has put on the block about 385 Mhz of spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band, and 46 Mhz in 900 Mhz band.

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