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New Delhi : Pursuant to the Notice Inviting Applications (NIA), auction of spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands commenced at 10 am on March 1, 2021. Four rounds of bidding took place till 6 pm. Another one or two rounds are expected on March 2, 2021. Three bidders – Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd, and Reliance Jio Infocomm – are participating in the auction.

The value of the spectrum for which there are provisional winning bids is Rs 77,146 crore. This has already substantially exceeded pre-bid estimates of Rs 45,000 crore. Bidder-wise details of quantity won and amounts payable will be available only after conclusion of the auction.

The e-auction is based on Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending Auction (SMRA) methodology. Available spectrum in all bands is simultaneously put to auction in all the Licensed Service Areas (LSAs). Bidding has taken place for spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz and 2,300 MHz bands. The participants did not bid in 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands, according to a PIB release.

A total of 2,308.80 MHz spectrum is being put to auction of which there have been bids for 849.20 MHz so far. Excluding spectrum in 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands, this is almost 60% of the spectrum put to auction. In the 2016 spectrum auction, where there were 7 bidders, the spectrum sold was 41% by quantity and 12% by value of the total spectrum put to auction. The corresponding figures in the 2021 spectrum auction so far are 37% and 19% respectively with 3 participants. Spectrum ,which will be assigned to the successful bidders, is valid for 20 years.

In 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and 900 MHz bands, bidders are required to pay 25% of the final bid amount as upfront payment. In the rest of the bands, bidders are required to make payment of 50% of final bid amount upfront. The balance amount (after upfront payment) will be payable in 16 equated annual instalments after a moratorium of 2 years.