The Department of Telecommunications' spectrum auction concluded on Thursday, with bids worth Rs 65,790 crore raised at the six-day event. The figure is much below the Centre's target of Rs 5.6 lakh crore. Mobile phone carriers avoided bidding to conserve funds in the highly-competitive and debt-ridden industry, according to Mint.
There were no takers for the high-end 700 megahertz and 900 megahertz bands. Only 40% of mobile airwaves were sold in India's largest spectrum auction, which began on October 1. Unsold airwaves may be re-auctioned at a reduced price later, according to PTI.
India's largest telecom carrier, Bharti Airtel Ltd, bought Rs 14,240-crore worth of spectrum. Vodafone Group Plc's Indian unit and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd also placed bids. Participants bought all airwaves of the 2,300 mhz band to expand their 4G mobile data services. Communications Minister Manoj Sinha said the government will get an upfront payment of Rs 32,000 crore.
The Indian Credit Rating Agency pegged the telecom industry's debt at around Rs 3,80,000 crore in December 2015, PTI reported.
As much as 2,354.55 mhz of frequencies across seven bands – 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz – were up for sale. Seven telecom operators had deposited Rs 14,653 crore as earnest payment for the spectrum auction.