Spectrum aution: Telcos buy airwaves worth ₹77,815 crore

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on March 02, 2021

Government expects upfront payment of ₹20,000 crore by March 31

The shortest telecom spectrum auction since 2013 has fetched the government more revenues than any previous sale. The air wave sale ended on Tuesday with operators buying airwaves worth ₹77,814.80 crore in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2300MHz bands.


Reliance Jio bought most spectrum, worth ₹57,122.65 crore. Jio bought 488.35MHz in the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2300MHz bands, while Bharti Airtel picked 355.45MHz of spectrum amounting to ₹18,698.75 crore, in all the bands for which bidding took place.

No takers

There were no takers for the 700MHz and 2500MHz bands in the six rounds of biddings that took place over the last two days. Spectrum in seven bands, at a reserve price of nearly ₹4-lakh crore, was offered for bidding.

Through this acquisition, Jio’s total owned spectrum footprint increased by 55 per cent to 1,717 MHz (uplink + downlink), the company said. “We are ready to expand the digital footprint in India and... for the imminent 5G rollout,” Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries, said. Vodafone Idea (Vi) bought only 11.8MHz of airwaves worth ₹1,993.40 crore, as the right to use spectrum. A total quantity of 2308.80 MHz spectrum was put to auction, including spectrum expiring by December 2021. Bids were received for 855.60MHz. Excluding spectrum in 700MHz and 2500MHz bands, this is about 60 per cent of the spectrum put to auction, Anshu Prakash, Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT), told reporters here after the auction ended.


“In 2016, where there were seven bidders, the spectrum sold was 41 per cent by quantity and 12 per cent by value of the total spectrum put to auction. The corresponding figures in the 2021 auction are 37 per cent and 19 per cent, with three participants,” Prakash said. He said the government expects a payment of ₹19,000-20,000 crore this financial year, and ₹11,000 crore in the next.

In the 800MHz band, 65.22 per cent of the total spectrum put for auction was sold, 38.87 per cent in the 900MHz, 42.87 per cent in the 1800MHz, 8.57 per cent in the 2100MHz and 89.29 per cent in the 2300MHz bands, Prakash informed. He added that all spectrum were sold at the reserve price.

Airtel Managing Director and CEO Gopal Vittal said, “We are most excited at bringing the power of Airtel services to an additional 90 million customers in India through the power of our pan India Sub GHz footprint.”

Published on March 02, 2021

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