Eight telecom operators apply for February 3 spectrum auction

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Eight telecom operators apply for February 3 spectrum auction
Eight telecom operators in India including Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), have applied for spectrum auction slated for February 3 on Wednesday, raising hopes that the Indian government would garner more than Rs. 11,343 crores from it.

"Eight applicants have applied. The auction will be successful, that is what we believe," Telecom Secretary M F Farooqui of India told reporters here.

"From the sale of spectrum in the current year, the Budget has provided for Rs. 11,343 crore. We will exceed that," he added.

Overall, the government has set a revenue target of Rs. 40,874.50 crores for this fiscal from the auction amount, one-time spectrum charge and annual regular licence fee.

Vodafone had filed the first application, followed by Airtel, Aircel, Tata Telservices, Idea Cellular, RJIL, Telewings (Uninor), Reliance Communications, an official source said.

Wednesday was the last date for submitting the applications and companies have the option to withdraw them by January 27.

In the last round of auction held in March 2013, none of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators had bid for radiowaves, citing high reserve or base price.

The Cabinet has fixed the base price for sale of spectrum in the 1800MHz band for pan-India at Rs. 1,765 crores per MHz, about 26 percent lower than in the March sale.

For the 900MHz band, it approved a rate up to 53 percent lower than the previous auction price. It is Rs. 360 crores per MHz for Delhi, Rs. 328 crores for Mumbai and Rs. 125 crores for Kolkata.

About 403 megahertz of 2G spectrum in the 1800MHz band and about 45MHz of spectrum in the premium 900MHz band is being put up for auction.

The 1800MHz band is being put up for auction following the Supreme Court order that the government sell all spectrum that was freed from the cancellation of 122 licences on February 2, 2012 in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

The 900MHz is being auctioned in three metros - Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata - as the current licences of operators (Airtel, Vodafone and Loop) will expire in November.

Loop and Videocon, however, have not applied for the forthcoming bidding.

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