India’s first auction of telecom spectrum in five years ended on Tuesday with Rs 77,814.80 crore of airwaves being bought, mostly by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio.
Over 2,250 MHz of spectrum that carry telecom signals in seven bands worth nearly Rs 4 lakh crore at the reserve or start price, was offered for bidding in the auction that began on Monday.
Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said 855.60 MHz of spectrum was bought for Rs 77,814.80 crore in the two-day auction.
Reliance Jio bought Rs 57,122.65 crore worth of spectrum while Vodafone Idea Ltd picked Rs 1,993.40 crore worth of airwaves.
Bids were received in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands but there were no takers for the airwaves in the premium 700 and 2500 MHz bands.
About one-third of the spectrum being auctioned is in the 700 MHz band, which was completely unsold during the 2016 auctions.
This, analysts said, was mostly because operators are unlikely to diversify into a new spectrum band that would require incremental investment in equipment, when other sub-GHz bands are available at lower prices.
Speaking about the new development, Mukesh D 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.
Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has acquired radiowaves worth Rs 18,699 crore in the latest spectrum auction. The telecom company has acquired 355.45 MHz spectrum across Sub GHz, mid-band, and 2300 MHz bands, giving it the “most formidable” spectrum holding in the country, Airtel said in a statement.