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Spectrum auction: Government receives bids worth Rs 77,164 crore on Day 1

There were only three bidders - Airtel, Vi, and Reliance Jio - this year, as against seven bidders during the last spectrum auction in 2016.

March 02, 2021 / 12:10 AM IST

On the first day of spectrum auction, the government received bids worth ₹77,146 crore as against its expectation of ₹45,000 crore, said Union communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on March 1.

"Total value of spectrum put to auction was Rs 4 lakh crore approximately, so against close to Rs 4 lakh crore, we have received biddings worth Rs 77,146 crore," Prasad said.

He said the bidding took place for spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands, while there were no bidders in the 700MHz and 2500MHz bands on day one.

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, the Ministry of Communications said in a statement.

There were only three bidders - Airtel, Vi, and Reliance Jio - this year, as against seven bidders during the last spectrum auction in 2016.

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Four rounds of bidding took place on day 1 and another one or two rounds are expected on March 2.

The spectrum bought will be valid for 20 years.

Spectrum auction begins today: All you need to know

Earlier, Telecom Secretary Anshul Prakash had said with the spectrum auction, the Union government is expecting a revenue of Rs 12,000-13,000 crore in FY21.

The telecom secretary said 65 percent of the 800 MHz spectrum was sold which accounts for almost 50 percent of the revenue raised. Also, 89 percent of the 2300 MHz spectrum was sold which accounts for about 17 percent of the revenue raised.

In the 900 MHz band, 38 percent of spectrum was sold, while in 1800 MHz band 41 percent of spectrum was sold. In 2100 MHz band, 9 percent of spectrum was sold.

Prasad said: "If one removes 700, 2500 MHz spectrum, over 60 percent of spectrum put up for auction has been sold."

"If no interest is expressed in 700 MHz spectrum, legal requirement will be to approach TRAI on pricing," he said.

However, the telecom secretary said contribution of 800 MHz was 50 percent this time as it is widely used for 4G.

In the 2016 spectrum auction, there were seven bidders, the spectrum sold was 41 percent by quantity and 12 percent by value of the total spectrum put to auction. The corresponding figures in the 2021 spectrum auction so far are 37 percent and 19 percent, respectively, with 3 participants, the statement said.

The Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) amount by Reliance Jio is the highest among the bidders at Rs 10,000 crore, earning the highest eligibility points followed by Bharti Airtel at Rs 3,000 crore and Rs 475 crore by Vi.

All the bidders have an option to pay upfront 50 percent of the final bid for 1800, 2100, 2300, and 2500 MHz bands, and the remaining amount can be paid in equated 16 instalments over a period of two years at the interest rate of 7.3 percent, following the two years moratorium. For 700, 800 and 900 MHz bands, the upfront amount is 25 percent of the successful bid.

The final bidders will also be required to pay three percent of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) excluding wireline services as spectrum usage charges for the spectrum won through this auction.

Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd.
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