Reliance Industries Limited-owned Reliance Jio will be among the seven companies participating in Saturday’s auction of 2,354.55 megahertz of spectrum by the central government, Mint reported on Friday. Jio has deposited Rs 6,500 crore out of the total Rs 14,653 crore given by the companies – Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Tata Teleservices – as earnest payment for the auction.
Jio, launched on September 1, has alleged that its users have faced an abysmal number of call drops because the country’s major network providers have not provided enough interconnection points. It has also accused the Cellular Operators’ Association of India of working only for the interests of the three dominant service providers in the country. The company has sought a complete revamp of the association, alleging that Airtel, Vodafone and Idea account for 68% of the total votes in the body.
Dubbed the country’s largest sale of spectrum, the government has been criticised for setting the reserve price of the bandwidth at Rs 5.66 lakh crore, according to The Indian Express. The companies themselves may spend up to Rs 40,000 crore during the auction, an analyst at PhillipCapital said, according to Moneycontrol. “Most of the operators are likely to buy spectrum which is according to their needs,” Naveen Kulkarni said. “There is no pressing demand for anybody to buy a lot of spectrum at this point in time,” he added.
Based on their deposits, the Department of Telcommunications said Jio, Airtel, Vodafone and Idea are the only four companies that can bid in any spectrum band in any of the 22 telecom geographical circles across the country. According to experts, the auction will help in doing away with fragmentation and improve service quality. This will, in turn, help the government achieve its revenue target of Rs 98,995 crore from the communication services in 2016-’17.