Spectrum Auction: 2021- Bid amount exceeds Rs 77,000 crore on Day 1

Expectations exceeded, Substantial Industry interest in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands, No bids for spectrum in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands

Pursuant to the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA), auction of spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands commenced at 10 AM today. Four rounds of bidding took place till 6 PM. Another one or two rounds are expected tomorrow.

Three bidders – Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd, and Reliance Jio Infocomm – are participating in the auction.

The value of the spectrum for which there are provisional winning bids is Rs. 77,146 crores. This has already substantially exceeded pre-bid estimates of Rs. 45,000 crore.

Bidder-wise details of quantity won and amounts payable will be available only after the conclusion of the auction.

The e-auction is based on the Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending Auction (SMRA) methodology. Available spectrum in all bands is simultaneously put to auction in all the Licensed Service Areas (LSAs).

Bidding has taken place for spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands. The participants did not bid in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.

A total of 2308.80 MHz spectrum is being put to auction, out of which there have been bids for 849.20 MHz so far. Excluding spectrum in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands, this is almost 60% of the spectrum put to auction. In the 2016 spectrum auction, where there were 7 bidders, the spectrum sold was 41% by the quantity and 12% by value of the total spectrum put to auction. The corresponding figures in the 2021 spectrum auction so far are 37% and 19% respectively, with 3 participants.

The spectrum which will be assigned to the successful bidders is valid for 20 years.

In 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz bands, bidders are required to pay 25% of the final bid amount as an upfront payment. In the rest of the bands, bidders are required to make payment of 50% of the final bid amount upfront. The balance amount (after upfront payment) will be payable in 16 equated annual instalments after a moratorium of 2 years.

The auction will resume tomorrow morning and is expected to conclude tomorrow.