Spectrum auction hits USD15bn mark

10 Mar 2015

Bidding in India’s spectrum auction has surpassed the government’s expectations, despite only limited interest in the 2100MHz and 800MHz frequency bands. After five days of bidding, the government has received offers totalling INR940 billion (USD15.0 billion), exceeding the state’s projected earnings of INR820 billion, the Economic Times writes. Prices have been driven up by incumbent operators bidding aggressively to retain expiring 900MHz spectrum rights in certain circles: Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications (RCOM) are at risk of being forced to close down services in certain circles should they fail to repurchase frequencies in those areas. Whilst the 900MHz range has been fiercely contested, spectrum in the 2100MHz band, suitable for 3G services, has seen little demand, due to high reserve prices and the paucity of spectrum currently available.