Govt ready to delay spectrum auctions to auspicious day: Telecom secretary J.S. Deepak
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Mumbai: Government is looking at pushing the upcoming spectrum auction by a few days to coincide with the period considered auspicious by Hindus, as requested by telecom industry, a top official said on Tuesday while exuding confidence that revenue target from the biddings will be met.
“The date of auction we had announced from September 29, but many companies and people feel that the Navratra is starting from October 1, that is a good time to bid. If it gives them good comfort to bid and spend more money to buy the spectrum, we are willing to change it to the first week,” telecom secretary J.S. Deepak told reporters.
Citing high reserve price for certain mobile radiowaves, telecom firms have not shown great enthusiasm so far for the upcoming round, being touted as the largest spectrum auction in the country. Telecom is one of the most leveraged sectors as the companies have been heavily investing in capex towards network expansion and spectrum buys.
The third largest telecom player, Idea’s chief financial officer Akshaya Moondra had said earlier this month that the industry is moving into an era of “spectrum glut” from “spectrum scarcity” due to which companies would not bid in a “frenzy” and stick to economic fundamentals. Deepak, however, sought to dismiss notions of any dampness in the spectrum sale. “We are selling a lot of good quality spectrum, so prices will be high,” Deepak said, adding that “almost all” the companies participated in a pre-bid meeting held recently. He exuded confidence that auctions will be “successful” and the department of telecom (DoT) will meet its revenue mobilisation targets through it.
The government planned to kick off the biggest ever spectrum auction on 29 September and had said it was expecting 25% upfront payment for the spectrum below 1 GHz, which would be assigned within 30 days after the bidding.