Spectrum auction gets bids worth Rs63,000 crore so far on Day 4

Bids worth about Rs63,000 crore have been received till the end of 19th round for 950 Mhz spectrum out of total 2,354.55 Mhz put for auction


Seven telecom companies—Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices—are in the fray for acquiring 3G and 4G spectrum. Photo: Mint
Seven telecom companies—Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices—are in the fray for acquiring 3G and 4G spectrum. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: The government has raised a total of Rs63,451 crore at the end of the fourth day of the spectrum auction.

The additional bids on the fourth day amount to Rs2,482 crore, compared with Rs4,177 crore on the previous day, indicating a decline in bidding intensity.

The government has sold 959MHz spectrum out of the total 2354.55MHz on offer.

The entire 2300MHz band was sold on the third day and telcos bid in 800MHz and 1800MHz bands on the fourth day.

The major circles that attracted companies were Uttar Pradesh (East), Haryana and Rajasthan.

The 24th round of bidding will resume on Thursday. The prices in these bands surged reasonably against the reserve prices.

“We don’t know if the auctions will close tomorrow. Action was seen mostly in 800 and 1800 bands,” a government official said, requesting anonymity.

Companies showed no interest for the 700MHz and 900MHz bands and even 2100MHz and 2500MHz did not see much participation on the fourth day. The government has offered spectrum worth Rs5.6 trillion in seven bands-700MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz , 2300MHz and 2500MHz.

The current spectrum auction, as predicted by industry experts, is likely to end this week.

Telecom operators are filling up gaps in their spectrum holdings to provide better data services considering the intense competition in the industry especially since Reliance Jio launched its 4G LTE services last month.

“Activity requirement has reached 100%, the auctions are likely to end soon. The auctions may help Idea and Vodafone boost 3G/4G spectrum, but balance sheets could be further burdened with an estimated high gearing of around 4 times net debt/Ebitda,” analysts at CLSA said in a 5 October note.

“Nearly half of 3G spectrum put up for auction is witnessing traction, though not over any premium,” said Prashant Singhal, global telecom leader, EY. “The operators are closely looking to plug the coverage gap in their 3G footprint.”

READ MORE