Telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea on Tuesday submitted applications to participate in the Rs 3.92 lakh crore spectrum auction scheduled to start from March 1, according to official sources. This round of auction will be held for 2,251.25 Megahertz (MHz) in seven frequency bands — 700 Mhz, 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz 2100 Mhz, 2300 Mhz and 2500 Mhz — at a cumulative base price of Rs 3.92 lakh crore. “Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have submitted applications (for the spectrum auction),” an official source told PTI. Bharti Airtel’s 12.4 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band and 47 MHz in the 1800 MHz band, as well as Reliance Communications’ 44 MHz of spectrum in the 800 MHz band will come up for renewal.
Vodafone Idea needs to renew 6.2 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band and 38.2 MHz in the 1800 MHz band. Some experts were of the view that the loss making telecom company Vodafone Idea (VIL) may not participate in the auction for renewal of spectrum in some circles. Telecom operators can get spectrum in the 900 megahertz band, being used for 4G services, in the upcoming auction for less than half the price in several circles compared to the amount paid by telecos in previous auctions. The base price in the 800 Mhz band has been lowered because spectrum in this band remained unsold in 15 of the 19 circles that were put for auction in 2016. Bids were received only for radiowaves in Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan and UP East.
According to ICICI Securities, the final reserve price for 800 MHz spectrum in the upcoming auction is 18.5 per cent lower than the October 2016 auction price, which should benefit the relevant operators. The base price of spectrum in 1800 Mhz band and 2300 Mhz band has been fixed 14.5 per cent and 17.5 per cent higher than the October 2016 base price, according to ICICI Securities. The Department of Telecom has also increased base price of 700 Mhz in North East and Jammu and Kashmir circles to Rs 34 crore compared to Rs 30 crore recommended by the telecom regulator Trai.