Government gets Rs61,162.22 crore from 2G spectrum auction

February 14, 2014 - 7:05:23 am
New Delhi: The government mopped up Rs61,162.22 crore in the second generation (2G) spectrum auction in 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz airwaves that ended yesterday after 68 rounds, Communications Minister Kapil Sibal said here.

“I want to see a smile on the face of the finance minister and also of the consumers and that can be only seen if the service provided by the operators is efficient and is at reasonable prices,” he said. Now that the auction is complete, the real work for the industry will begin, he noted.

Telecom Secretary M F Farooqui said the government has garnered Rs37,572.62 crore in 1,800 MHz and Rs23,589.62 crore in 900 MHz. “The auction has progressed smoothly. I think market has determined price through keen competitive bidding,” he said.

Eight mobile phone service providers —  Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Telewings, Aircel, Tata Teleservices and Idea Cellular — took part in the auction that began on February 3 for 46 MHz in 900 MHz band and 385 MHz in 1,800 MHz band. 

Bharti Airtel, whose licenses in Delhi and Kolkata are due to expire in November, won back 900 MHz in both these metro circles and also added the same in Mumbai. It also won 1,800 MHz spectrum in 15 circles.

The company said it has acquired 115.0 MHz spectrum for a total consideration of Rs18,530 crore in the just-concluded spectrum auction. It added that the company plans to roll-out high speed 4G networks in various circles using FD-LTE technology in the 1,800 MHz band besides its existing TD-LTE roll-out in the 2,300 MHz band, giving it a pan-India 4G footprint.

Vodafone, whose licences in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are due to expire in November this year, retained existing 900 MHz spectrum in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. It had put in bids worth Rs19,600 crore to win 900 MHz airwaves in the three metros and 1800 MHz spectrum in 11 circle. The company needs to pay Rs5,600 crore to the government in this financial year.

Idea was the only other company to win the 900 MHz spectrum in Delhi. Uninor won spectrum in five circles — UP East, UP West, Bihar and Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh — in 1800 MHz band.

Idea Cellular also received got 11 circles in 1800 MHz airwaves. Reliance Communications won 1800 MHz in Mumbai circle. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm won some circles in 1,800 MHz. Aircel won a few circles in 1,800 MHz.

The total spectrum on offer is 46 MHz in 900 MHz band (only Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata) and 385 MHz in 1,800 MHz band (all 22 circles) simultaneously. The government has targeted to mop up Rs.40,874.50 crore from the spectrum auction in 2013-14.

The telecom players who participated and won airwaves have the option to pay 33 percent upfront for 1800 Mhz band, and 25 percent in case of 900 Mhz band.