Telecom spectrum bids touch Rs60,969 cr as 60% of offer remains unsold

The third day of telecom spectrum auction saw addition of Rs4,097 crore worth of bids, taking the total commitments in the nation's biggest spectrum sale to Rs60,969 crore, since biding commenced on Saturday.

However, as much as 60 per cent of the airwaves on offer remained unsold as debt-laden telcos stayed away from high-cost 700 MHz and 900 MHz bands even on the third day of bidding.

Reports said bidders sidelined the high-performance frequencies in 700 MHz and 900 MHz bands while bidding interest continued to be largely around 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz that can be used to provide 4G services.

After 17 rounds of bidding, commitments  of a total Rs60,969 crore have come for around 900 MHz of spectrum out of 2,354.55 MHz on offer. The auction resumed today.

After 11 rounds of bidding, the second day of the auction had also seen additional bids of just Rs3,341 crore which took the total commitments to Rs56,872 crore on Monday (See: Spectrum auction stuck in the slow lane; total bids rise to Rs56,872 cr).

The government is auctioning 2,354.55 MHz of frequencies with a base price of Rs5,63,000 crore  across seven bands.

The budget estimate of revenue from telecom sector has been pegged at Rs98,995 crore, including Rs64,000 crore from the spectrum auction.

The premium 700 MHz band alone, sold at a base price of Rs11,485 crore per MHz, was expected to fetch as much as Rs4,00,000 crore for the government. The premium band width was also expected to be a hot cake with telcos bidding hard for 4G spectrum.

Seven service providers, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices, are in the fray for acquiring 3G and 4G airwaves as the telcos vie for competitive edge in the next generation services market.