India’s Department of Telecommunications put up for sale a total of 2,308 MHz of airwaves across seven bands
India’s Department of Telecommunications put up for sale a total of 2,308 MHz of airwaves across seven bands. The auction ended in early March, with the government getting 778.15 billion INR (9 billion EUR), well below the reserve price of 3.92 trillion INR (45 billion EUR) for the total available spectrum. Around two-thirds of the available spectrum was left unsold.
Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea didn’t bid for the 700 MHz band, considering the spectrum overpriced like in the 2016 auction. The operators also avoided the 2500 MHz band, while just 15 MHz of the 175 MHz available in the 2100 MHz band was sold.
According to Indian press, Jio purchased the most spectrum, paying 571.23 billion INR (6.6 billion EUR) for 488.35 MHz, focusing primarily on renewing its 800 MHz licences alongside frequencies in the 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands. Airtel paid the next largest amount, with 186.99 billion INR (2.16 billion EUR) for a total of 355.45 MHz across the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands. Vodafone Idea purchased just 11.8 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands for a total of 19.93 billion INR (230 million EUR).
With the high reserve prices set by the regulators and the substantial debt burden on the industry, bidding matched expectations, with the trio focused on renewals and consolidating their positions in the bands they already utilised. The operators also prepared the ground for 5G by adding spectrum in the 2300 MHz band.