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India hopes to bring in Rs 5.83 trillion from airwaves auction in 2019

The government plans to sell 8,600 megahertz of telecom airwaves this year across multiple frequency bands.

Santosh Kumar | Bloomberg 

telecom, tower
Though Jio does not divulge details, those in the know say its target is to grab 40 per cent of the revenue market share

India expects to raise as much as Rs 5.83 trillion ($83.8 billion) from its latest round of airwaves auction, even as the carriers battle a brutal tariff war that has eroded their earnings and forced some to exit.

The government plans to sell 8,600 megahertz of telecom airwaves this year across multiple frequency bands, said a telecom ministry official, who did not want to be identified as the information is not public.

Spectrum auctions -- a significant source of revenue for the national exchequer in the past -- are coming at a particularly challenging time for India’s mobile-phone carriers. Once a crowded space with a dozen operators, the sector has shrunk and the remaining operators are struggling to protect market share and earnings from billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s telecom upstart, Jio, that has lured away subscribers with free calls and very cheap data plans.

The telecom watchdog had recommended in August last year that price bands be lowered for some telecom airwaves to make them more viable.

First Published: Thu, June 13 2019. 22:33 IST
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