Telecom spectrum auction ended on Thursday with bids worth Rs 65,789 crore over the last five days, a mere 40 per cent of the total worth of spectrum that was placed on the block.
There were no takers for the expensive 700Mhz and 900 Mhz bands during the course of the five days. The 700MHz band alone was expected to fetch Rs 4 lakh crore for the government.
“Bids worth about Rs 65,789 crore were received at the end of 31 rounds for 965 Mhz of spectrum out of total 2,354.55 Mhz put for auction,” official sources told PTI.
Around 60 per cent of mobile airwaves in value terms remained unsold in what was billed as the country’s largest spectrum auction where Rs 5.63 lakh crore worth of spectrum was put up for sale from October 1.
Earlier in the day, total bids had dipped a bit to about Rs 63,325 crore at the end of 26th round as compared to previous closing. Activity, however, picked up pace in the later rounds. Each round today was of 45-minute duration, unlike 60 minutes on the previous days.
The bidding activity took place only in few circles with interest continuing to be largely around 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz that can be used by operators to provide 4G services.
Industry also showed interest in 2100 Mhz (3G/4G) band, 2500 Mhz (4G) band and 800 Mhz (2G/4G) bands.
The debt-ridden telecom industry was cautious in the auction and opted for low-priced spectrum that will help them improve mobile service quality as well offer next generation services in the world’s second largest telecom market.
As per rating agency ICRA, the consolidated debt level of the industry stood at around Rs 3,80,000 crore in December 2015 against Rs 2,90,000 crore in March 2014.