The spectrum auction has entered the third round, with activity in 2100 MHz, 2300Mhz and 2500 Mhz bands and most of the action is seen in 1800 Mhz band. There is no activity yet in the premium 700 Mhz band, according to industry sources.
Maximum activity is taking place in 1800 MHz band, especially for the Mumbai circle, they said, adding that 10 bids have been received in the 2100 MHz band for all the 10 slots on the offer.
As much as 2,354.55 Mhz of frequencies are being put up for auction in seven bands - 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz. The radiowaves can be used for 2G, 3G and high-speed 4G mobile services.
Reliance Jio, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications and Aircel are in the fray for the spectrum auction, which started earlier on Saturday.
There is no end limit set by the government for the auction, but the bidding will be between 9 am to 7 pm everyday. The department of telecom will release results of daily bidding at the end of each day.
Telecom Secretary JS Deepak had told PTI on Friday that after this auction the "problem of spectrum scarcity affecting quality of service will be history."
He had also advised operators to "tank up" the radiowaves to bridge shortfall in their holdings as the next such sale may not happen for "quite some time".
While Reliance Jio, Airtel and RCom have pan-India 4G spectrum, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have an opportunity to bid for airwaves in the auction to expand their 4G service footprint for competitive advantage in the market.
Idea has 4G spectrum in 10 out of 22 telecom circles in the country. Vodafone, which has just brought in Rs 47,700 crore equity investment from its parent firm, has spectrum for 4G services in 9 telecom circles.
The premium 700 MHz band is to be auctioned at a reserve price of Rs 11,485 crore per Mhz. The cost of delivering mobile services in this band is estimated to be around 70 per cent lower than 2100 MHz band used for providing 3G services.
The 700 Mhz band alone has the potential to fetch bids worth over Rs 4 lakh crore. Jio is the only company in this auction which is eligible to bid for pan-India spectrum in 700 MHz band.
Leading telecom operators have deposited Rs 14,653 crore as earnest money for the spectrum auction with Reliance Jio alone submitting Rs 6,500 crore as earnest money deposit.