India's first auction of spectrum in five years attracted Rs 77,146 crore of bids on the opening day on Monday with Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea putting in bids.
Over 2,250 MHz of spectrum, that carry telecom signals, in seven bands worth nearly Rs 4 lakh crore at reserve or start price, was offered for bidding in the auction that began on Monday.
Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Rs 77,146 crore worth of spectrum was bid on the first day but there were no takers for the airwaves in the premium 700 and 2500 MHz bands.
The auction, he said, will continue on Tuesday.
Bids were received in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands.
About one-third of the spectrum being auctioned is in the 700 MHz band, which was completely unsold during the 2016 auctions.
This, analysts said, was mostly because operators are unlikely to diversify into a new spectrum band that would require incremental investment in equipment, when other sub-GHz bands are available at lower prices.
"Three bidders – Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd, and Reliance Jio Infocomm – are participating in the auction. The value of the spectrum for which there are provisional winning bids is Rs 77,146 crore. This has already substantially exceeded pre-bid estimates of Rs 45,000 crore. Bidder-wise details of quantity won and amounts payable will be available only after conclusion of the auction," said Ministry of Communications in a statement.
"Bidding has taken place for spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands. The participants did not bid in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. A total of 2308.80 MHz spectrum is being put to auction, out of which there have been bids for 849.20 MHz so far. Excluding spectrum in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands, this is almost 60% of the spectrum put to auction. In the 2016 spectrum auction, where there were 7 bidders, the spectrum sold was 41% by quantity and 12% by value of the total spectrum put to auction. The corresponding figures in the 2021 spectrum auction
so far are 37% and 19% respectively, with 3 participants.
"Spectrum which will be assigned to the successful bidders is valid for 20 years. In 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz bands, bidders are required to pay 25% of the final bid amount as upfront payment. In the rest of the bands, bidders are required to make payment of 50% of final bid amount upfront. The balance amount (after upfront payment) will be payable in 16 equated annual instalments after a moratorium of 2 years," the ministry added.
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