Telecom operators were initially expected to be conservative during the 2015 spectrum auction, but the bids just keep on coming. At the end of Day 13, which saw 6 new rounds of bidding, the government has over Rs 1,08,000 crore in its kitty. Till now 80 rounds of bidding have taken place, and about 89% of the spectrum has been provisionally allocated to bidders.
As has been the case over the past few days, most of the activity on Day 13 (pdf) was centered around the 800 MHz band. There was excess demand for spectrum in the Delhi and Maharashtra telecom circles, just like on Day 12, with the exception of the Assam circle. The reserve price for Delhi and Maharashtra circles have been increased by Rs 9.98 crore and Rs 17.74 crore respectively for the next round. Some analysts told The Economic Times that they expect to see bidding in the Odisha and North East circles for spectrum in the 800 MHz band in the following days.
In the 1800 MHz band, there was excess demand for spectrum in the Kerala circle, after a slow Day 12. The reserve price for the circle has been increased by Rs 0.16 crore for the next round of bidding. Bidding in the other two bands remained stable, with no excess demand in any of the circles. This is a trend that’s expected to continue for the rest of the spectrum auctions, as telcos are looking to pick up spectrum in the comparatively low-priced 800 MHz band.
The government is now assured to add at least about Rs 27,000 crore from the ongoing auction, through upfront payments to its coffers in this fiscal year, which ends on March 31. It’s worth noting the 8 telcos participating in the auctions, including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone India, Tata Teleservices, Uninor, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio and Aircel, have already submitted Rs 20,435 crore as earnest money before the auctions commenced.