At the end of Day 14, which saw 6 new rounds of bidding, the total bids increased to over Rs 1,09,000 crore, up from Rs 1,08,000 crore on Day 13. The Department of Telecom informed that there was robust bidding going on in the 1800 MHz and 800 MHz bands, and so far over 89% of the spectrum has been provisionally allocated to bidders. The government had netted about Rs 1.06 lakh crore in the first spectrum auction back in 2010, and about Rs 62,000 crore during the February 2014 auctions.
Just like Day 13, most of the activity was centered around the 800 MHz band (pdf). There was excess demand for spectrum in the Delhi, Maharashtra and North East telecom circles. The reserve prices for these three bands have been increased by Rs 10.28 crore, Rs 18.83 crore and Rs 0.29 crore respectively for the next round of bidding.
There was no excess demand for spectrum in the Kerala circle for 1800 MHz spectrum, as compared to Day 13. In fact, there were no bids for 1800 MHz spectrum in the Kerala circle. 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.
It’s worth noting that the mobile licenses for 9 telecom circles of Idea, 7 circles each of Vodafone and Reliance Communications and 6 circles of Airtel are up for renewal in 2015-16. These 29 licences up for renewal are for 18 telecom circles, including Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, UP (West), Gujarat, Odisha and Kerala, which are essentially must-win circles for some these telcos. All four telcos needed to buy spectrum in the 900 MHz band to continue uninterrupted operations, which was the reason for fervent activity in the 900 MHz band during the first few days of the 2015 spectrum auctions that started on March 4.
The government had put up for auction 103.75 MHz in the 800 MHz band, 177.8 MHz in the 900 MHz band, 99.2 MHz in the 1,800 MHz band and five MHz each in 17 of the 22 circles in the 2100 MHz band.