Jio, Airtel and Vi deposit ₹4,350 crore for spectrum auction

  • India’s largest telco, Reliance Jio, deposited 3,000 crore, while Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea deposited 1,050 crore and 300 crore, respectively, according to data from the department of telecommunications (DoT) released on Thursday.

Gulveen Aulakh
First Published16 May 2024
The government expects a modest auction for the frequencies offered across multiple bands—800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz—valued at  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>96,317.65 crore.
The government expects a modest auction for the frequencies offered across multiple bands—800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz—valued at ₹96,317.65 crore.

Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have collectively submitted 4,350 crore as earnest money deposit, making them eligible for the spectrum auctions starting 6 June.

India’s largest telco, Reliance Jio, deposited 3,000 crore, while Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea deposited 1,050 crore and 300 crore, respectively, according to data from the department of telecommunications (DoT) released on Thursday. 

The government expects a modest auction for the frequencies offered across multiple bands—800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz—valued at 96,317.65 crore.

The auction is expected to be limited in scale compared to the 2022 bids, which generated a record 1.5 trillion from the sale of 72,097.85 MHz, including 5G airwaves for the first time. 

Mint had reported earlier this year that the government is expecting to mop up about 10,000 crore from spectrum sale. Brokerages have predicted Reliance Jio to spend about 3,700 crore, as it may look to increase its spectrum holding in certain circles in the 800MHz band, having tanked up on 5G spectrum across the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands in the 2022 5G auctions. 

Also Read: Satcom spectrum allocation further delayed

Jefferies said in a note in March that Bharti Airtel could spend a minimum of 3,800 crore as it will have to renew 42MHz of spectrum in 1800MHz and 900MHz bands in six circles. It may also bid in certain circles to increase its holding in 800MHz/1800MHz bands to 10-15MHz and in 2300MHz band to 40MHz. This could lead to a maximum spend of 123 billion or 12,300 crore. 

Airtel’s MD and CEO Gopal Vittal had said in the September-quarter earnings call that the carrier will be spending less than usual in the upcoming spectrum auctions, as it will not need additional airwaves other than some renewal spectrum in a few circles. Airtel intends to add at least 25,000 5G sites in circles of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, Kerala and West Bengal to improve rural area coverage.

Vodafone Idea on the other hand has chosen against renewing some its spectrum in the circles of West Bengal and UP West, where renewals for 12MHz in the 1800MHz and 900MHz band are due. Analysts noted that since the country's third-largest carrier by subscribers has adequate spectrum in the same circles in the 1800MHz band, it may not go for renewal of spectrum in the 1800MHz band, and therefore would end up reducing its spends on renewals from 1,500 crore to 200 crore for just 900MHz band.  

Also Read | Allot or auction satellite telecom spectrum? Signal clarity, please.

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