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Rediff.com  » Business » Spectrum bids reach Rs 56,190 crore after 40 rounds

Spectrum bids reach Rs 56,190 crore after 40 rounds

February 08, 2014 19:37 IST

Government has received bids worth Rs 56,190 crore (Rs 561.90 billion) from telecom companies after 40 rounds of bidding on the sixth day of the ongoing spectrum auction Saturday for 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bands.

"A total of 40 rounds are over. Bids worth around Rs 32,833.72 crore (Rs 328.34 billion) are received for 1800 Mhz and Rs 23,356.18 crore (Rs 233.56 billion) for 900 Mhz. A total of Rs 56,189.90 crore (Rs 561.90 billion)," Telecom Secretary MF Farooqui said.

The auction started off with the 36th round this morning. At the end of 35 rounds on Friday, bids worth around Rs 54,600 crore (Rs 546 billion) had been received by the government.

Sources said there was bidding for all the 16 blocks put up for sale in Delhi; in 5 out of 16 blocks in Mumbai and in 12 out of 14 blocks in Kolkata for the premium 900 Mhz band in 41st round.

Delhi, UP (West), Assam, Gujarat and Maharashtra are witnessing excess demand for 1800 Mhz.

The auction for the two bands, which have been used for 2G services so far, have received a strong response. The auction in November 2012 lasted for 2 days and March auction last year lasted only one day.

In November 2012, bids worth Rs 9,407 crore (Rs 94.07 billion) were received for spectrum worth Rs 28,000 crore (Rs 280 billion) on offer.

In March 2013, no GSM operator bid at the auction and only CDMA operator Sistema Shyam bought spectrum for about Rs 3,600 crore (Rs 36 billion) in eight of the 21 service areas.

There is no time limit for the sale of spectrum and the duration of the current auction will depend on the appetite of the eight companies in the fray - Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Aircel, Tata Teleservices, Telewings (Uninor) and Reliance Communications.

Government has put on the block about 385 megahertz of spectrum in the 1800 Mhz band. The auction started on February 3, following the cancellation of 122 licences by the Supreme Court in the 2G spectrum allocation case two years ago.

The government is also auctioning radiowaves in the 900 Mhz band in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, which are held by Vodafone, Airtel and Loop Mobile, as their licences are expiring in November.

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