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New Delhi: Vodafone Idea Ltd has acquired spectrum in India’s five telecom circles in the auction for 4G wireless service, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. The company did not disclose the quantity of spectrum bought or the financial details of the transactio.

The Birla group company said it entered this auction, which started on Monday, holding the largest quantum of spectrum with a small fraction due for expiry. India has 22 telecom circles.

“We have used this opportunity to optimise spectrum holding post-merger (of Vodafone India Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd in August 2018) to create further efficiencies in few circles… The spectrum we have acquired in 5 circles will help us enhance our 4G coverage and capacity, enabling superior digital experience for our customers," the company said.

The company said it expects that large quantum of spectrum will be made available for 5G services at fair prices to enable operators roll out the technology rapidly.

On Monday, communications, electronics and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government will soon make an announcement on 5G trials. He, however, did not give a timeline for the auction of spectrum in the 3,300-3,600MHz bands, earmarked by the sector regulator for 5G.

Vodafone Idea released its statement after the two-day auction concluded on Tuesday. According to official numbers from the department of telecommunications (DoT), telcos had placed bids worth 77,146 crore on the first day of spectrum auction on Monday, which was way above the government’s pre-bid estimate of 45,000 crore.

All three telecom operators—Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone Idea—who submitted earnest money in February, participated in the auction, DoT said.

The DoT put on the block 2,308.8MHz of spectrum at a base price of 3.92 trillion in the auction. Spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,300MHz, and 2,500MHz bands were put up for sale.

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