Spectrum auction: Govt invites bid for selection agency

Spectrum auction: Govt invites bid for selection agency

A journalist uses his mobile phone to take a picture of the 5G logo prior to the auction of spectrum for 5G services at the Bundesnetzagentur headquarters in Mainz, Germany. (Reuters Photo)

The government on Monday invited bids for selection of agency that will conduct spectrum auctions in various bands, including 5G, as it set the stage for the mega sale of over 8000 MHz of radiowaves.

Issuing the notice for 'Request for Proposal' or tender document, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said the deadline for submission of the bids would be September 25.

The guidelines for auction of spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz and 3300-3600 MHz bands will be announced separately, the notice said while pointing to the availability of 8093 MHz of airwaves in multiple bands.

"Notice for Request for Proposal (RFP) for selection of agency for conducting e-auction of spectrum in various bands was issued by the Department of Telecommunications on August 26," an official release said.

In June this year, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said the government will hold spectrum auction for 5G and other bands in the current calendar year.

The notice issued by the DoT on Monday said the bid evaluation will be in three parts -- pre-qualification, technical and financial. The normal tenure of the contract for the selected auctioneer would be three years, with the provision of a one-year extension by mutual consent, it said.

The bidder should not have any equity directly or indirectly in any telecom service provider in India, and vice versa, and will have to declare its Indian and foreign equity holdings.

The selected agency will be tasked with designing, structuring and implementing the overall process of e-auction and also advise on setting the rules for the bidding process. The agency will help prepare bid documents for the auction and also advise on the safeguards in the e-auction system to ensure the security of the entire process, it added.

A pre-bid conference will be held on September 2, with prospective bidders. Technical evaluations will be based on criteria such as total value and number of e-auctions conducted in the last seven years, the total value of telecom related e-auctions in the last seven years, design of auction process and development of bid document, among others.

The government, which did not auction any spectrum in 2017-18 and 2018-19, wants to hold the nation's biggest auction of about 8,093 MHz of airwaves this year, at a start price of over Rs 5.7 lakh crore.

Old telecom operators that are battling financial difficulties, have, however, dubbed the rates as exorbitant and urged the government to review the price of radio waves to set the stage for an aggressive 5G play.

The last spectrum auction in October 2016 saw only 40 per cent of the spectrum offered being sold. In that auction, the government had garnered Rs 65,789 crore from sale of just 965 MHz. 

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