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Telcos put in earnest money deposit for March auctions; Jio’s deposit stands at Rs 10,000 crore

Telecom operators have deposited their Earnest Money Deposits (EMDs) for the upcoming spectrum auctions, the Department of Telecommunications announced on Thursday. The auction is for spectrum in the bands of 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHZ. and 2500 MHz, according to the department. Jio has provided the highest EMD, at Rs 10,000 crores, almost triple the amount of its two competitors (Airtel and Vi) put together.

The Economic Times reported that this is partly due to the Reliance Industries-owned telco needing to renew existing spectrum. These three telcos are now pre-qualified to bid next month. BSNL is not expected to participate in the upcoming auction, as it has not placed an EMD.

No 5G airwaves are expected to be purchased by telcos, even as the government reportedly gears up to auction trial spectrum for the new technology. Jio is reportedly expected to purchase renewals for spectrum in the sub-gigahertz 800MHz band, as well as airwaves it acquired from the now-defunct Reliance Communications.

Airtel’s EMD stands at Rs 3,000 crore, and Vodafone Idea’s is Rs 475 crores. Eligibility Points are based on the EMD and are considered in the bidding process on top of the offered price. Jio has 73,007 EPs, Airtel has 24,924 EPs, and Vodafone Idea has 6,153 EPs.

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