Reliance Jio leads in earnest money deposit for spectrum auction
Three players — Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea — are on the final list of bidders for the spectrum auction set to start from March 1, the department of telecommunication said on Monday.
The sixth round of auction of 2,251.25 megahertz of spectrum worth Rs 3.92 lakh crore at the base price will be in seven frequency bands — between 700MHz and 2,500MHz. The auction may not witness stiff competition given the varied priorities of each player and the weak liquidity position of Vodafone Idea, analysts said.
Jio has put an earnest money deposit (EMD) of Rs 10,000 crore, with the DoT allocating it 73,007 “eligibility points”. Bharti Airtel’s Rs 3,000 crore EMD means the telco has been allocated with 24,924 eligibility points. Vodafone Idea got just 6,153 eligibility points because of its Rs 475 crore EMD, the DoT data showed.
The amount of EMD is indicative of a telco’s bidding strategy as it gives an operator eligibility points based on which it can target a certain amount of airwaves in specific circles.
The three telcos can bid in any band in any service area, subject to the availability of spectrum. Analysts said the bidders planned to conserve cash to participate in a potential near-term 5G spectrum sale where airwaves in the 3.3GHz to 3.6GHz bands would be up for sale.