Seven companies qualify to bid in upcoming telecom spectrum auction

New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) Seven telecom service providers have qualified to bid for the upcoming biggest-ever airwaves auction starting from October 1, according to official data released here by the Department of Telecommunications.

The companies that have qualified for the auction are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Tata Teleservices.

Reliance Jio can bid in any licensed service area (LSA) across the country, while Reliance Communications can bid across the country except northeast and Assam.

Jio has deposited the highest Earnest Money Deposit of Rs 6,500 crore and has got the highest eligibility point allocated of 44,506.

The total amount of spectrum that will be offered for sale is 2,354.55 MHz. Overall, based on the reserve price, the mop up is expected to be Rs 5.66 lakh crore.

The 2,300-plus MHz of airwaves on the block for telecom operators is in seven bands — 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz — as against 470.75 MHz in the previous round, which is set to fetch the exchequer $17 billion during its tenure.

The timetable of the auction has put the mock auction dates on September 26 and 27 and the start of actual auction from October 1.

mjunction services limited is advising the government on this auction.

The government has decided to allot the right to the spectrum won through auction for 20 years.

The operators will have the choice of both upfront and instalments payment options. The service providers who win airwaves below 1 GHz bandwidth will have to pay 25 per cent upfront, and for those winning above that the upfront payment will be 50 per cent.

One new bidding-friendly measure the government has adopted this year is that spectrum won will be assigned within 30 days from the date of upfront payment. Interest on deferred payment, linked to base rate, will be 9.3 per cent this year against 10 per cent in 2015.

For the successful bidder, the lock-in period of equity in the company has been reduced to one year instead of the earlier stipulation of a minimum period of three years or completion of roll out obligation, whichever is later.

In a meeting of the cabinet in June, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official nod was given for the reserve price and the auction norms.

–IANS

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