New Delhi: Spectrum auction received additional bids worth Rs 3,100 crore on the third day today to take total commitments to Rs 59,981 crore, leaving two-thirds of total quantum of on-offer airwaves unsold as bidders stayed away from high-cost 700 Mhz and 900 Mhz bands.
"The auction has entered the 16th round. Bids worth Rs 59,981 crore have come for 750 Mhz of spectrum out of 2354.55 Mhz put for auction," an official source told PTI.
Sources said there is no demand yet for the 700 MHz and 900 MHz frequencies while bidding interest continues to be largely around 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz that can be used by operators to provide 4G services.
The second day of the auction had also seen a tepid response from bidders with additional bids of just Rs 3,341 crore to take the total commitments to Rs 56,872 crore. Yesterday, the bidding had closed with a cumulative 11 rounds. As much as 2,354.55 MHz of frequencies valued at Rs 5.63 lakh crore at base price have been put up for auction across seven bands.
The finance ministry in the Budget pegged the revenue target at Rs 98,995 crore from the telecom space. This included Rs 64,000 crore from the auction.
The premium 700 MHz band alone has the potential to fetch bids worth over Rs 4 lakh crore if the entire spectrum in this band is sold at the base price. However, at a reserve or base price of Rs 11,485 crore per MHz, it is considered to be priced very expensive in spite of its inherent advantages in terms of propagation ability and potential savings.
Seven telecom companies -- Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Aircel, Reliance Communications and Tata Teleservices -- are in the fray for acquiring 3G and 4G airwaves that are going to be crucial for maintaining competitive edge in the market and offering next generation services in the world's second-largest telecom market.