Reliance Jio splashed more than $2 billion on new spectrum,
as the Indian spectrum auction close after raising almost $10
billion in bids.
After five days of bidding, the Indian government raised
$9.9 billion, well short of the $84 billion worth of bandwidth
on offer as operators bought less than half of the total on
Challenger Reliance Jio, which launched last month and is
backed by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani,
acquired the rights to use 269.2MHz of spectrum across all 22
service areas for Rs13,672 crore.
"We have expanded our spectrum footprint thereby
significantly enhancing capacity of our all-IP data strong
network and ensuring world class services for all Indians. Jio
is committed to taking India to global digital leadership by
bringing the power of data to all Indians," said Ambani.
The biggest spender during the auction was Vodafone, landing
spectrum across all of its key circles after splashing out more
than $3 billion on the 20-year agreements.
Vodafone India bought a total of 2 x 82.6 MHz FDD and 200
MHz TDD spectrum in the auction, giving it multi-band 4G
capability operating across the 1800, 2100 and 2500 MHz bands.
It now has 4G capability in 17 circles.
India’s largest telco, Bharti Airtel Ltd, in a
statement said that it has acquired 173.8MHz of spectrum across
the 1,800/2,100/2,300MHz bands for a total consideration of
Rs14,244 crore ($2.13 billion).
Idea Cellular acquired 349.20MHz of spectrum at an aggregate
bid value of Rs12,798 crore, for a total spend of $1.92 billion
at the auction.
The Indian government was offering spectrum across seven
bands (700MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz , 2,300MHz and
2,500MHz) but came under fire for pricing the premium 700MHz
bandwidth too highly. Despite being better for travelling
through walls, the lower frequencies received less bids than
the higher ones.
"In fact, the financial strain on the industry and a high
reserve price are the major reasons why the 700MHz band did not
attract bidders," Rajan S. Mathews, director general of
industry lobby group the Cellular Operators Association of
India told Livemint.
"On many an occasion, COAI has raised the issue of the high
reserve price on the band, and how this could affect investor
interest during the auction."Read on: GlobalTelecomsBusiness