The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has commenced the country’s biggest ever spectrum auction wherein airwaves worth Rs 5.66 lakh crore are put up for sale.
The auction kicked off at around 10 am and will continue till 7 pm.
Seven mobile operators, including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, R-Com, Aircel and Tata Teleservices are participating in the auction.
The auction conducted in 2010 for 3G airwaves in the 2100 Mhz band has been the longest that lasted for 34 days.
All spectrum auctions have been conducted on the same model. The department of telecom will release results of daily bidding at the end of every day.
As much as 2,354.55 megahertz (MHz) of frequencies are being put up for auction in seven bands -- 700 Mhz, 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz, 2300 Mhz and 2500 MHz. The radiowaves can be used for 2G, 3G and high-speed 4G mobile services. This is more than the cumulative spectrum holding of the top four operators.
While Jio, Airtel and RCom have pan-India 4G spectrum, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have an opportunity to bid for airwaves to expand their 4G service footprint for competitive advantage in the market.
Idea has 4G spectrum in 10 out of 22 telecom circles in the country. Vodafone, which has just brought in Rs 47,700 crore equity investments from its parent firm, has spectrum for 4G services in 9 telecom circles.
The amount of spectrum that is being put up for auction is more than any previous auctions, which will enable bidders to provide good quality of service according to international benchmarks and the issue of spectrum fragmentation that has dogged the telecom sector for the last many years will be a thing of the past.
In a bid to make the auctions bidder-friendly, the government plans to assign spectrum won in the auction within 30 calendar days from date of making the payment. It takes 10 days to make a payment after the auction ends.