Government launches process for major spectrum sale next year

25 October 2014

The government today launched the process for the eagerly watched auction of spectrum, which is scheduled to take place early next year, by inviting bids for the appointment of an auctioneer to sell spectrum in seven frequencies.

This includes the 700MHz band that has never been brought into play in India.

The government has also proposed to sell radio waves in the 2500MHz band - again a frequency that has never been offered, and in fact didn't find mention in a spectrum valuation report submitted last week by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

New technologies such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) are being deployed in the 700MHz band in several countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan.

The government in the request for proposal (RFP) put out on Friday did not specify the timeline for the auction but indicated that it intended to offer spectrum in the seven bands in 2015.

Mobile telephony firms will be interested in the 700MHz band where the government has indicated an availability of 825MHz of paired spectrum. But the exact amount would depend on the spectrum requirements of the defence services.

The other big offer is in the 2500MHz band where the government has indicated an availability of 600MHz of unpaired spectrum.

The 2300MHz band, in which broadband wireless access spectrum was sold in June 2010, also has 320MHz of unpaired spectrum available in 2015 and another 120MHz due in 2018.

The BWA spectrum had been offered in two blocks of 20MHz each in 22 circles. Reliance Jio acquired pan-India spectrum in this auction and intends to roll out its long-awaited 4G service in this band sometime in the middle of next year.

The auctions will be held through an e-auction using simultaneous, multiple-round ascending auction in 22 telecom service areas.

The RFP said that interested e-auctioneers would have to submit their technical and financial bids by 11 November. The department will issue guidelines for spectrum auction, including the reserve price shortly, officials said.

The 10-day long auction in 900MHz and 1800MHz bands held in February this year yielded over Rs 61,162 crore, which was about 27 per cent more than the base price valued at Rs 47,934 crore.

Eight telecom firms had bid for the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands.

 search domain-b