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The Government Sells Airwaves Worth Rs 77,814.80 Crore In The Spectrum Auction 2021

Right To Use 855.60 MHz Spectrum Acquired By Three Bidders

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
I am a mumbai based journalist having worked with many daily newspapers.

INDIA.Mumbai: The Government of India on Tuesday sold 855.60 MHz spectrum(4 G), worth Rs 77,814.80 crore, in the auction of 2,308.80 MHz spectrum in seven frequency bands, with Reliance Jio emerging as the biggest buyer by acquiring spectrum worth Rs 57,122.65 crore.

The auction which began on Monday concluded at 12.45 PM on Tuesday, after a total of 6 rounds of bidding. The e-auction was based on the Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending Auction (SMRA) methodology. In a release, the government said 855.60 MHz of airwaves were bought for Rs 77,814.80 crore in two days of the auction, which concluded on Tuesday after six rounds of bidding. It had received bids of Rs 77,146 crore on the first day of spectrum auction. On Monday the value of the winning bids was Rs 77,814.80 crore. Hence, incremental bids for Rs 668.20 crore were made on Tuesday, Anshu Prakash, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications, said on the concluding day of Spectrum Auction 2021.

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The bidding took place for spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands. In the auction, the right to use was acquired for 855.60 MHz. The participants did not bid in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. As such 15 MHz( 8.57 percent) of available spectrum, was acquired in the 2,100 MHz bands. Four rounds of bidding (two each with stipulated activity levels of 80 % and 90%) took place on Monday. Whereas two rounds of bidding with the stipulated activity level of 100% took place on Tuesday.

Reliance Jio emerges as the biggest buyer

Three bidders – Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd, and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd – participated in the auction. Bidder-wise details of the quantity of spectrum acquired were: Jio acquired 488.35 MHz of airwaves(Rs. 57,122.65 crores), Bharti Airtel acquired 355.45 MHz for Rs 18,698.75crore and Vodafone Idea got 11.80 MHz of spectrum for Rs 1,993.40 crore.

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A total of 2,308.80 MHz spectrum in seven frequency bands — 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, and 2500 MHz — was put to auction, including spectrum expiring up to December 2021. Of this quantity, bids were received for 855.60MHz of the spectrum. Excluding spectrum in 700MHz and 2500MHz bands, this was about 60% of the spectrum put to auction.

A deal better than expected

In the 2016 spectrum auction, where there were 7 bidders, the spectrum sold was 41% by the quantity and 12% by value of the total spectrum put to auction. The corresponding figures in the 2021 spectrum auction are 37% and 19% respectively, with 3 participants.

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Also Read: How Jio Became India’s Biggest Telecom Company

The quantity of spectrum put to auction 

The quantity of spectrum put to auction and the spectrum acquired in different bands is as follows: Band- 700 MHz (paired)-Quantity put to action(MHz)-660, Quantity acquired-0,Percentage-0, Band- 800 MHz (paired)-Quantity put to action(MHz)-230, Quantity acquired-150,Percentage-65.22, Band- 900 MHz (paired)-Quantity put to action(MHz)-98.80, Quantity acquired-38.40,Percentage-38.87, Band- 1800 MHz (paired)-Quantity put to action(MHz)-355, Quantity acquired-152.20,Percentage-42.87, Band- 2100 MHz (paired)-Quantity put to action(MHz)-175, Quantity acquired-15,Percentage-08.57, Band- 2300 MHz (paired)-Quantity put to action(MHz)-560, Quantity acquired-500,Percentage-89.29, Band- 2500 MHz (paired)-Quantity put to action(MHz)-230, Quantity acquired-0,Percentage-0. Total-Quantity put to action(MHz)-2308.80, Quantity acquired-855.60,Percentage-37.06.

“Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) for the spectrum acquired in this auction will be payable at the rate of 3 percent of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) of the licensee, excluding revenue from wireline services,” the government said.

In a statement, Jio said it successfully acquired the right to use spectrum in all 22 circles across India. It acquired spectrum in 800 MHz, 1,800 MHz, and 2,300 MHz bands in the auction. The company, it said, has a very well-balanced spectrum for LTE services and future up-gradation to 5G technology. With this acquisition, Jio’s total owned spectrum footprint has increased significantly by 55 percent to 1,717 MHz. Whereas Airtel said the new spectrum will help it cover an additional 90 million customers in India, while Vodafone Idea said it will increase its 4G coverage and capacity.

With the deployment of additional spectrum acquired in this auction in the networks of Telecom Service Providers, the Quality of Service and customer experience of telecom consumers across the country are expected to improve.

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