BSNL, MTNL to skip spectrum auction this time too

State-run telecom firms Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd will not participate in the upcoming spectrum auction due to begin on 4 March, from which the government targets to raise over Rs1,00,000 crore.

The chairmen and managing directors of the two PSUs - BSNL's Anupam Srivastava and MTNL's P K Purwar - told PTI that the two will not participate in the auction.

Srivastava said there is no need for additional spectrum at this point of time.

The public sector firms had not participated in the previous auctions held in November 2012, March 2013 and February 2014 either. Bidders must submit their applications by 16 February.

The auction of airwaves in four bands – 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz – could garner Rs82,395 crore at the base or minimum price, but sources said the government expects total proceeds to exceed Rs1,00,000 crore.

The quantum of spectrum to be put on auction is 103.75 MHz in 800 MHz band in all service areas, 177.8 MHz in 17 service areas in 900 MHz band and 99.2 MHz in 15 service areas in 1800 MHz band.

For the 2100 MHz band used for 3G services, 5 MHz in 17 circles will be put up for auction. The auction is crucial for many private firms whose licences in many circles are coming up for renewal by the end of this year.

The reserve price approved is Rs3,646 crore pan-India per MHz in the 800 MHz, Rs3,980 crore for 900 MHz band pan-India ; and Rs2,191 crore pan-India in 1,800 MHz band.

The government also approved a reserve price of Rs3,705 crore per mega Hertz for third generation services.