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Rel Jio enters spectrum war; aggressive bid seen in 900 MHz

Eight telecom companies have applied for participating in the auctions, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communications. The licences of four companies are coming up for renewal in certain circles

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The fight for airwaves just got interesting, with Reliance Jio all set to participate in the upcoming spectrum auctions, reports CNBC-TV18’s Malvika Jain.

Eight telecom companies have applied for participating in the auctions, including Bharti Airtel , Vodafone, Idea Cellular  and Reliance Communications . The licenses of four companies are coming up for renewal in certain circles. Additionally, the likes of Uninor, Aircel and Tata Tele  will also participate. However, the game changer once again could be Reliance Jio which could turn out to be one of the biggest bidders even this time around.

This may have implications particularly for 3G auctions and also in circles where companies will be losing out on spectrum if their licenses do not come up for renewal as aggressive bidding is expected to take place.

As far as Bharti Airtel is concerned there is an analysis which seems to suggest that the company has managed to hedge itself against any possible risks of losing out on its operations even in circles where its licenses are coming up for renewal but Idea and Vodafone and also Reliance Communications will need to watch out for pressure which may be created by the entry of Reliance Jio, which is learnt to have applied for pan-India 900 MHz (2G) & 2,100 MHz (3G) spectrum.

Discussing the development, Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association (COAI), said the government may raise over Rs 80,000 crore via auction.

According to him, there was always an indication of aggressive bidding in the 900 MHz. He however expects less interest in the 2100 MHz band. “But again as you see today all major operators have expressed interest to bid and we expect the bidding to be rational.”

“There could be constraint in terms of understanding what the true value of the spectrum is. Reliance Jio all along has been very disciplined in the way they have bid. So, we expect that to continue through this process,” he added.

He expects large circles to see major interest by telcos, especially with companies like Rel Comm,Vodafone and Airtel keen to retain existing circles.

“Principally all circles are more or less highlighted because if you look at various companies, Reliance Communication has a sector of circles that it is very keen to retain. Idea, Vodafone and Airtel have surplus. I am sure the larger A circles and some of the B, C circles would also be of interest. However, large circles which account for bulk of the profitability would probably be the first circles of greatest interest going into the auction,” he said.

Disclosure: Network 18, which publishes moneycontrol.com, is now part of the Reliance Group.

Bharti Airtel stock price

On February 16, 2015, Bharti Airtel closed at Rs 360.55, up Rs 5.45, or 1.53 percent. The 52-week high of the share was Rs 419.90 and the 52-week low was Rs 282.10.


The company’s trailing 12-month (TTM) EPS was at Rs 28.61 per share as per the quarter ended December 2014. The stock’s price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio was 12.6. The latest book value of the company is Rs 166.93 per share. At current value, the price-to-book value of the company is 2.16.

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