Spectrum Auction Concludes with Bids of Rs 77,810 Cr (Ld)

(IANS): The spectrum auction 2021 concluded on Tuesday with the government receiving total bids worth Rs 77,814.80 crore.

“The value of spectrum for which there are winning bids is Rs 77,814.80 crore. Incremental bids for Rs 668.20 crore were made on Tuesday,” said Anshu Prakash, Secretary in the Department of Telecommunications.

Tuesday was the second and concluding day of spectrum auction 2021. The auction began on March 1 and concluded at 12.45 pm on Tuesday, after a total of six rounds of bidding. The e-auction was based on the Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending Auction (SMRA) methodology.

Prakash said that bidding took place for spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands. The total quantity of spectrum for which right to use has been acquired in these bands is 855.60 MHz.

The participants did not bid in the 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. Four rounds of bidding (two each with stipulated activity levels of 80 per cent and 90 per cent) took place on March 1, while two rounds of bidding with stipulated activity level of 100 per cent took place on Tuesday.

Three bidders – Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) – participated in the auction. Reliance Jio Infocomm was by far the biggest bidder with 488.35 MHZ of spectrum acquired for Rs 67,122 crore.

Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) for the spectrum acquired in this auction will be payable at the rate of 3 per cent of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of the licensee, excluding revenue from wireline services.

These provisional results are subject to scrutiny and approval by the government.

With the deployment of additional spectrum acquired in this auction in the networks of telecom service providers, the quality of service and customer experience of telecom consumers across the country are expected to improve.

Reliance Jio announced that it has successfully acquired the right to use spectrum in all 22 circles across India in the recently concluded spectrum auction.

RJIL has very well-balanced spectrum for LTE services and future upgradation to 5G technology. Through this acquisition, RJIL’s total owned spectrum footprint has increased significantly, by 55 per cent to 1,717MHz (uplink+downlink).

RJIL has the highest amount of sub-GHz spectrum with 2X10MHz contiguous spectrum in most circles. It also has at least 2X10MHz in 1800MHz band and 40MHz in 2300MHz band in each of the 22 circles.

RJIL has achieved complete spectrum derisking, with average life of owned spectrum of 15.5 years. Its spectrum has been acquired in the most cost-efficient manner with an effective cost of Rs 60.8 crore per MHz.

With the enhanced spectrum footprint, especially contiguous spectrum, and pan-India infrastructure deployed, RJIL has enhanced network capacity to service its existing users as well as hundreds of millions of more subscribers on its network. The acquired spectrum can be utilised for transition to 5G services at the appropriate time, where Jio has developed its own 5G stack.

Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries, said, “Jio has revolutionised the digital landscape of India with the country becoming the fastest adopter of Digital Life. We want to ensure that we keep on enhancing experiences, not only for our existing customers, but also for the next 300 million users that will move to digital services. With our increased spectrum footprint, we are ready to further expand the digital footprint in India as well as get ourselves ready for the imminent 5G rollout.”

The payment to be made for the right to use this technology agnostic spectrum for a period of 20 years is Rs 57,123 crore for RJio.

As per terms of the spectrum auction, the deferred payments have to be made over a period of 18 years (2-year moratorium plus 16-year repayment period), with interest computed at 7.3 per cent per annum.

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