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Telecom spectrum auction begins, valuing at Rs 96,238 cr at base price

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New Delhi: Three telecom operators—Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea—are vying for additional telecom spectrum, for which the auction began Tuesday morning, and the government will earn at least Rs 96,238 crore if all spectrum is sold at base price.

Total spectrum being auctioned is 10,522.35 MHz in various bands valued at Rs 96,238.45 crore at reserve prices. Spectrum bands to go up for bidding include: 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz.

To augment existing telecom services and maintain continuity of services, the government is holding a spectrum auction beginning June 25, 2024. This is in line with government’s commitment to facilitate affordable, state-of-the-art, high-quality telecom services for all citizens.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has initiated the spectrum auction, and a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) was issued on March 8, 2024. The Ministry of Communications announced that the following spectrum bands will go up for bidding in the upcoming auction – 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz.

Total quantum of spectrum being auctioned is 10,522.35 MHz in various bands valuing Rs 96,238.45 crore at reserve prices.

The auction will see participation from three bidders: M/s Bharti Airtel Limited, M/s Vodafone Idea Ltd, and M/s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, as there is no other bidder or new entrant in the fray.

The auction shall be a Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending (SMRA) e-auction. Spectrum will be assigned for a period of twenty (20) years.

Successful bidders will be allowed to make payment in 20 equal annual instalments, duly protecting the NPV at an interest rate of 8.65 percent. Spectrum acquired through this auction can be surrendered after a minimum period of ten years.

There will be no Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) for Spectrum acquired in this auction. It is not required by the successful bidder to submit a Financial Bank Guarantee (FBG) or Performance Bank Guarantee (PBG).

Mock Auctions were conducted on June 3rd, June 13th, and June 14th to familiarise the bidders with e-Auction platform.

Subsequently, Auction Catalogue was published on June 24, 2024, at 9 am to ensure there was no inaccuracy in the data of bidders. Live Auction will start at 10:00 a.m. on June 25, 2024, the Ministry of Communications said.

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