Radio waves worth Rs 11,340.78 cr sold; Airtel top buyer

He added: “We will continue the process with the clear objective of ensuring reliability and growth of telecom services in India.”

The bidding went above the reserve price in West Bengal and Bihar in 1,800 MHz band.

In all, the realisations from the 2024 auction works out to just about 12 per cent of Rs 96,238 crore minimum value that the government had estimated for the spectrum on offer. However, Telecom Department sources said that this is in line or even slightly above expectations, given that deposits (EMDs) by telcos just ahead of the auction gave a clear indication of the extent of participation and sale.

Further, almost 99 per cent of the spectrum on the block did not see much interest, as telcos had already picked up spectrum in those specific bands in the last auction conducted in August 2022.

Bharti Airtel, the top bidder, bought 97 MHz of radio frequency for mobile services for Rs 6,856.76 crore.

Notably, debt-ridden Vodafone Idea bought 30 Mhz of spectrum for Rs 3,510.4 crore and Reliance Jio Infocomm bought 14.4 Mhz for Rs 973.62 crore.

“Bharti Airtel Limited, Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited and Vodafone Idea Limited have successfully bid and taken spectrum in this auction also for growth and continuity of services,” the statement said.

According to it, the level of response to the auction was on account of most of the 5G spectrum getting sold in the auctions that were held in August 2022 and their monetisation still in progress.

“As auction for 5G spectrum was held recently & 5G monetisation is still in progress, no bidding took place in 800 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 3,300 MHz and 26 GHz bands. A total quantum of 141.4 MHz (26.5 per cent) was sold from the balance 533.6 MHz spectrum. This is despite the fact that a very large amount of spectrum, that is, 51.2 Ghz of spectrum was sold in August 2022,” the statement said.

In all, available spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz bands were put to auction. Of these, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands caught telcos’ fancy.

The unsold spectrum will again be put to auction next time, it said.

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