The Telegraph
Thursday , February 6 , 2014
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Craving for spectrum intact

New Delhi, Feb. 5: Day 3 of the telecom spectrum auction saw the total value of bids spiral up to around Rs 50,000 crore, more than Rs 5,000 crore from yesterday.

“Bids of around Rs 50,000 crore were received at the end of 21 rounds on the third day of spectrum auction. Besides the 900 MHz band, demand for 1800 MHz in many circles also picked up today. We will continue with auction tomorrow,” telecom secretary M.F. Farooqui said.

At the end of the day, telecom players bid for 71.7 per cent of spectrum in the 900 MHz band and 71.3 per cent of the airwaves put out for auction in 1800 MHz band have been covered.

After 21 rounds, the government has received bids worth Rs 20,000 crore for the 900 MHz band and Rs 30,000 crore for the 1800 MHz band.

Farooqui said the government would get at least Rs 15,000 crore in the current fiscal based on the bids received at the end of the third day, even if the bidders opt to pay the final auction price in instalments.

Eight mobile phone service providers are participating in the auction for 46 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band and 385 MHz of spectrum in the 1800 MHz band.

The 2013-14 budget set a target of Rs 40,874 crore from spectrum sale. A bumper collection from airwaves auction will help the Centre to keep fiscal deficit under control.

The country’s fiscal deficit at Rs 5.16 lakh crore has already crossed 95 per cent of the budget target in the first nine months of 2013-14.

The 2G price for Calcutta’s 900 MHz spectrum at the end of the day was Rs 192.71 crore a MHz, which is 54.2 per cent higher than the reserve price.

Delhi was the most sought after, with a 1MHz bid price of Rs 574.08 crore, 59.5 per cent more than the reserve price.

In the Mumbai circle, bidding for 1MHz of spectrum yielded Rs 563.09 crore, 71.7 per cent higher than the reserve price.

Bidding in the 1800 MHz picked up through the day in circles such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bengal and Uttar Pradesh (West).