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Telecom spectrum auction: Bids of Rs.107,000 crore surpass recent high

Telecom spectrum auction: Bids of Rs.107,000 crore surpass recent high

New Delhi: The money committed so far in the latest e-auctions of telecom spectrum crossed Rs.107,000 crore on Day 12 after 74 rounds of bidding, surpassing the previous high of Rs.106,200 crore in 2010, official data showed here on Tuesday.

The government got commitments of Rs.106,200 crore in 2010 telecom spectrum auction after 183 rounds of bidding in 34 days.

"The bidding is taking place in all bands. Brisk bidding was seen on 12th day of bidding, with activity requirement set at 100 percent. There is robust bidding going on in 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz bands," the Department of Telecom (DoT) said in a statement here.

Seven fresh rounds of bidding were seen on Day 12.

"At the end of 74th round, about 88 percent of the spectrum has been provisionally allocated to bidders. The provisional amount committed by bidders at the end of 74th round is over Rs.107,000 crore," it said.

"Majority of service areas are going at a premium over reserve price. The competitive bidding is expected to continue. There is still spectrum, which is yet to be sold. Bidding would recommence tomorrow, that is, March 18, 2015 at 9 a.m," the statement added.

Day 11 on Monday saw Rs.103,046 crore commitment from telecom operators at the end of bidding after 67 rounds.

The commitments come over and above the Rs.200,000 crore that India Inc has already bid under the two phases of auctions for award of coal blocks. But the proceeds from this auction will go to the respective state governments over 30 years.

The central government has budgeted for Rs.43,161.72 crore from e-auctions of spectrum for the current fiscal while the reserve price for the entire spectrum on offer in the four bands, across India, was around Rs.80,000 crore.

The bids so far have well exceeded these numbers.

The maximum bids of 85 were received for Tamil Nadu circle with a winning amount of Rs.45 crore per block in the 1800 MHz band. However, this circle saw 10 less bids.

The second highest bids of 75 were received for Punjab circle with a winning amount of Rs.72.15 crore per block in the 900 MHz band. This circle also saw three less bids.

The eight telecom service providers participating in the auctions are Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Tata Teleservices, Uninor, Idea Cellular and Aircel.

They have submitted earnest money of Rs.20,435 crore, which is two and a half times what had been called for.

The total spectrum put up for auction is 103.75 MHz in 800 MHz band, 177.8 MHz in 900 MHz band and 99.2 MHz in 1,800 MHz band for second generation (2G) telephony.

The government has also put up 5 MHz in the 2,100 MHz band for third generation (3G) telephony.

A reserve price of Rs.3,423 crore per MHz was fixed for 800 MHz frequency, Rs.3,399 crore for 900 MHz band and Rs.1,425 crore for the 1,800 MHz band. The government also fixed a reserve price of Rs.3,511 crore per megahertz for the frequency for 3G spectrum.

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