Government’s proceeds from the spectrum auction on Thursday crossed Rs 1 lakh crore mark as aggressive bidding took place across all bands on the eighth day of the biggest sale of 2G and 3G airwaves.
The amount is expected to rise further as there is spectrum which is yet to be sold. The auction will continue tomorrow.
So far, over 86 percent of the spectrum has been provisionally allocated to bidders.
Upbeat at the positive outcome of the bidding for the airwaves, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told PTI: “It is a matter of great assurance for us to know that the bid amount on Thursday crossed 1 lakh crore plus closing at Rs 1,02,000 crore.”
The bid amount crossing Rs 1 lakh crore shows the trust and optimism in the new government’s ability and potential to take fair decision and the inherent potential which the telecom segment holds out for future growth, he added. Prasad complimented all the participants in the auction.
The telecom auction proceeds crossed Rs 1 lakh crore mark on a day when the long-pending insurance bill was passed in Parliament, becoming the first major economic reform of the Narendra Modi government.
Besides, the proceeds from coal auction earlier this week crossed Rs 2 lakh crore mark while exceeding CAG’s earlier loss estimate of Rs 1.86 lakh crore. The Department of Telecom (DoT) said at the end of 49 rounds, bids grew to over Rs 1 lakh crore.
“There is aggressive bidding going on in all bands i.e. 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz and 800 MHz bands. At the end of 49th round, over 86 percent of the spectrum has been provisionally allocated to bidders at a value of approximately Rs 1,02,000 crore,” the DoT said.
The Department added that a majority of service areas are going at a premium over reserve price and the competitive bidding is expected to continue.
Sources said 18-19 circles in the four bands put on sale have witnessed activity on Thursday. Incumbents Bharti Airtel and Vodafone are locked with Reliance Jio to protect their spectrum they need to carry voice and data in the world’s second-biggest smartphone market.
In all, eight bidders are in the fray. The government will not release results of the auction as a case in pending before the Supreme Court. The next hearing on the case is on March 26.