Spectrum bids cross USD10bn mark

6 Mar 2015

After a second day of bidding in India’s ongoing spectrum auction, the government has received bids totalling around INR650 billion (USD10.42 billion). Bidding was less fierce than the first day although the cellcos continue to battle over 900MHz band frequencies in certain key circles. With a handful of notable exceptions, spectrum blocks in the 800MHz and 1800MHz bands remained more-or-less at their reserve prices, whilst bidding for 2100MHz frequencies has been extremely reserved. The price per block for airwaves in the 800MHz range in Madhya Pradesh was up 15.9% compared to the reserve price, and up 6.1% from the closing price after the first day of bidding, whilst the 1800MHz band in Andhra Pradesh saw a similar level of demand, with the cost increasing 15.8% from the base price. By contrast, frequencies in the 900MHz band have soared to more than double their reserve price in some circles, as operators with expiring concessions attempt to fight off their entrenched rivals as well as upstart newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL). The greatest increases in price were in Uttar Pradesh (West) and Punjab, where the cost per block of spectrum had been driven up by 159.2% and 118.9% respectively. Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Orissa, meanwhile, all saw price jumps of close to 80%.