Sector experts have, however, indicated that a large part of the airwaves in the upcoming auction will remain unsold.
Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have submitted a total earnest money deposit (EMD) of Rs 13,475 crore for the spectrum auction scheduled to start from March 1, according to information disclosed by the Department of Telecom on Thursday.
The total EMD amount is close to one-fourth of the amount required to be eligible for buying all spectrum worth a base price of Rs 3.92 lakh crore put on the block.
The richest player Reliance Jio with networth of Rs 1.79 lakh crore has submitted EMD of Rs 10,000 crore, which indicates that the company will bid for spectrum in select spectrum bands.
This is perhaps the highest EMD submitted by a telecom player for any spectrum auction held in the country till date.
According to spectrum auction rules, a telecom player can bid for spectrum only as per eligibility point allocated based on EMD submitted by the company.
The EMD required for bidding for all spectrum blocks comes to over Rs 48,141 crore of which Rs 21,960 crore is required for the most expensive frequency band of 700 megahertz.
Sector experts have already indicated that a large part of the airwaves in the upcoming auction will remain unsold.
Bharti Airtel with networth of Rs 71,303 crore has submitted EMD of Rs 3,000 crore and Vodafone Idea with negative net worth of Rs 43,474 crore has submitted EMD of Rs 475 crore.
Bharti Airtel's 12.4 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band and 47 MHz in 1800 MHz band and Reliance Communications' 44 MHz of spectrum, being used by Reliance Jio, in the 800 MHz band are coming 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.
The networth figure of Bharti Airtel is lower than the Rs 73,069 crore the company had disclosed at the time spectrum auctions held in 2015, while that of Reliance Jio has increased close to eight times from Rs 23,029 crore in 2015.
The net worth of Bharti Airtel had dipped to Rs 66,643 crore in 2016 while that of Reliance Jio had nearly doubled to Rs 45,042 crore.
The combined net worth of Vodafone and Idea was Rs 27,443 crore in 2015.