Eight companies to bid for spectrum today

Eight companies to bid for spectrum today

With the much-expected telecom spectrum auction starting on Monday, eight firms will battle it out for the scarce radio waves. 

Eight telecom companies—Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Idea Cellular, Telewings (Uninor), Reliance Communications (RCom), Tata Teleservices and Aircel—are in the fray. 

The Department of Telecom (DoT), which aims to garner at least Rs 11,300 crore, has put on the block around 385 MHz of radio waves in the 1800 MHz band, and 46 MHz in the 900 MHz band.

DoT also reduced the quantum of spectrum to be sold in 1800 MHz band in 10 circles, including Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, from about a total of 403 MHz planned earlier.

The government has to conduct this third round of spectrum auction following a Supreme Court order in 2G case directing that all the radio waves freed from the cancellation of 122 licences in February 2012 should be auctioned.

Besides, 900 Mhz has to be auctioned as some radio waves in this band are held under old telecom licences, which will start expiring in November 2014. 

In November 2012, bids worth Rs 9,407 crore were received for spectrum worth Rs 28,000 that was offered.

In March 2013, no GSM operators bid at the auction and only CDMA operator Sistema Shyam bought spectrum of about Rs 3,600 crore in eight of the 21 service areas.
It is must for Vodafone to get spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata; for Airtel in Delhi and Mumbai, and Loop Mobile in Mumbai for continuing operations because their licences are expiring in November.

DoT has set a target of Rs 40,874.50 crore for this fiscal from spectrum, including the auction amount, one-time spectrum charge and annual regular licence fee.

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