Reliance Jio emerged as the highest bidder in the telecom spectrum auctions for 4G airwaves, that concluded on Tuesday, The Hindu reported. Of the total 855.6 megahertz of spectrum sold, Jio acquired 488.35 megahertz for a price of Rs 57,122.65 crore.
Rivals Bharti Airtel bid for 355.45 megahertz of spectrum for Rs 18,698.75 crore, while Vodafone Idea bid for only 11.80 megahertz of airwaves for Rs 1,993.40 crore, according to The Hindu. The Centre will garner a total of Rs 77,814.80 crore in revenues, through the auction, of which Rs 19,000 to Rs 20,000 crore will be received in this financial year (before March 31,2021) itself.
Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, in a press briefing on Tuesday, said that the auction has exceeded the Centre’s expectations, PTI reported.
“Our estimate itself was Rs 45,000- Rs 50,000 crore and we have got bids worth Rs 77,814.80 crore, which is much higher than expectations,” Prakash said, noting that the spectrum auction took place in the backdrop of the pandemic and stress in the telecom sector.
However, like in the last auction in 2016, the Centre could not attract any bids in the most expensive 700 megahertz band, which went unsold due to high reserve price, the Business Standard reported. Jio spent more than 60% of its amount spent on the 800 megahertz band, the second best one after 700 megahertz. Bharti Airtel spent most of its money in the 2,300 megahertz.
“The 700 MHz band coupled with the 3.5 GHz band has the potential to accelerate India’s progress to the top league of digitally enabled nations,” Bharti Airtel, said in a statement after the auctions. “Therefore, the reserve pricing of these bands must be addressed on priority in future.”
Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, in a statement said that that his company was targetting the next 30 crore users of 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,” he said.