DoT Announces Mega Spectrum Auction: Bands Worth ₹96,317 Cr To Go Under Hammer

The Department of Telecommunications has thrown open the doors for applications to auction eight radio frequencies, spanning a whopping 10,523.15 MHz for mobile services.

What Happened: With a hefty base price tag of ₹96,317.65 crore, this spectrum auction includes leftovers from the 2022 sale and those due for renewal in 2024. This move comes after the historic revenue haul of ₹1,50,173 crore from the last auction in 2022, marking this as the second auction following major telecom reforms introduced in September 2021.

Set to kick off on May 20, the auction will showcase spectrum across various bands from 800 MHz to 26 GHz, aimed at mobile service enhancements and extended for a 20-year assignment. Applications are due by April 22, with the final bidder list expected on May 9. Successful bidders will enjoy the luxury of spreading their payments across 20 years, without any spectrum usage fees, keeping the auction terms largely similar to previous ones but with some price adjustments in specific bands.

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What do analysts say? Analysts predict a neutral impact on the telecom sector from this auction. ICICI Direct notes the absence of surprises, foreseeing the auction’s success mainly in renewals, given operators’ already sufficient spectrum holdings for 4G and 5G services. Despite the exclusion of the 600MHz and 700MHz bands, there’s a notable price hike for the 3,300MHz and 26GHz bands, among others, reflecting targeted adjustments rather than broad changes.

This transparent, regular opportunity for telecom providers to acquire spectrum, as lauded by Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, signifies a strategic step towards enhancing India’s telecom infrastructure, albeit with carefully considered reserve price adjustments across selected bands and regions.

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