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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Rs 96,000 crore base price set for spectrum sale, Department of Telecommunications invites bids

A mock auction for the mobile network spectrum will be conducted on May 13 and 14, while the actual sale will commence on May 20. All companies seeking to participate in the auction need to apply by April 22, the NIA said

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 09.03.24, 11:21 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The next round of the auction of airwaves in eight spectrum bands for mobile phone services at a base price of Rs 96,317.65 crore will start from May 20.

All the available spectrum in 800, 900, 1,800, 2,100, 2,300, 2,500, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz bands will be put to auction at a base price of Rs 96,317.65 crore.

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Spectrum held by certain companies that are undergoing insolvency and which expire in 2024 on completion of the term will also be put to auction.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued a notice inviting applications (NIA) — the legal document laying down auction rules and processes.

However, telecom analyst Ankit Jain of Icra said: “The telcos are not likely to bid aggressively in the upcoming auction. As per Icra, the participation is likely to be to the tune of Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000 crore largely towards renewal of expiries.”

A mock auction for the mobile network spectrum will be conducted on May 13 and 14, while the actual sale will commence on May 20. All companies seeking to participate in the auction need to apply by April 22, the NIA said.

It said the validity period of the right to use the spectrum shall be 20 years from the "Effective Date’’ subject to payments as per the schedule in the demand note. If the same licensee who is holding the spectrum wins the spectrum, this would be the day following the expiry date of the earlier assignment.

All entities which have a unified access licence (UAL), or fulfil the conditions for receiving one, can participate in the auctions. Issued by the government, the licences allow wired and wireless technologies to work together as a single, robust network.

While a unified licence can only be awarded to an Indian firm, foreign applicants may form or acquire an Indian company, to obtain it.

Foreign entities are allowed to participate in the auctions directly and apply for a licence through the Indian company, where they can hold a 100 per cent equity stake under the automatic route for foreign direct investment. However, restrictions remain on investments from countries sharing a land border with India.

New entrants into the telecom space will also be required to show a net worth of Rs 100 crore per licence service area.

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