Govt nets Rs 61,162 cr in spectrum auction

Second generation telecom spectrum auction ended on Thursday with the government getting Rs 61,162 crore, far exceeding its own target.

Claiming that the auction was successful, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters that in the process, which lasted 10 days, the government will get Rs 61,162.22 crore.

In the current fiscal itself, Rs 18,296.36 crore will flow to the exchequer as the companies are allowed to initially pay an upfront amount and the rest in annual installments.  
The funds are expected to help the government narrow the fiscal deficit.

Though earlier the government expected to earn Rs 40,000 crore from the auction of radiowaves in 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bands, the bid amount exceeded the target after entry of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio Infocomm.

Vodafone Group and Bharti Airtel won critical wireless telecom spectrum in metros like Delhi and Mumbai and several other cities in auction.

Reliance Jio Infocomm bid aggressively for both the bands of airwaves on offer – the premium 900 Mega-Hertz and not so efficient 1,800 MHz, but choose spectrum only in the later band in 14 out of 22 circles.

Vodafone, whose licence in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata is due to expire in November this year and desperately needed spectrum in the auction to continue operations, put in bids worth Rs 19,600 crore to win 900 MHz airwave in the three metros and 2G 1800 MHz spectrum in 11 circles or zones.

Airtel, whose licences in Delhi and Kolkatta was due to expire in November, won back 900 MHz in both these metros and added the same in Mumbai. It also won 1,800 MHz spectrum in 15 circles. It put in total bid worth Rs 18,530 crore for a total of 115 MHz of spectrum in 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands. Airtel said it will roll out pan-India 4G network using 1800 MHz.

Idea was the only other company to win the 900 MHz spectrum, which is capable of 3G communications, in Delhi.

Uninor won spectrum in five circles in 1800 MHz band while Idea got 11 circles in the same band. Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications won just one circle of 1800 MHz in Mumbai. Tata Communications drew blank. Aircel got 5 circles.

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