The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Friday, April 16 completed allocating spectrum to telecom operators who bought airwaves for 4G wireless service within the spectrum auction conducted on 1st and 2nd March. The central Government has issued frequency assignment letters to bidders.
Bharti Airtel Ltd deposited Rs 157.38 crore for its share of airwaves, while Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd paid Rs 2,149.59 crore, the government said in an official statement. Combining the entire deposit, the central government earned Rs 2,306.97 crore from the allocation of spectrum. The telcos made immediate payments, before the schedule in August-September, 2021.
“The frequency assignment was amid a frequency harmonization exercise, whereby spectrum blocks assigned to telecom service providers (TSPs) within the present spectrum auction are made contiguous with the spectrum blocks already held by them, wherever possible, in various bands in several licensed service areas (LSAs),” the central government said.
The centre added. “It harmonized spectrum within the 19 LSAs in 800 MHz band, 8 areas in 900 MHz band, 21 areas in 1800 MHz band, 3 areas in 2100 MHz band, and 16 areas in 2300 MHz band. Spectrum harmonization allows efficient use of airwaves held by telecom service providers, leading to improved quality of service for consumers.”
The government sold 855.6MHz of spectrum of Rs 77,820.81 in the March 2021 auction. The centre had put up airwaves in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,300MHz and 2,500MHz bands for sale. The Department of Telecommunication received an upfront payment of Rs 21,918.47 crore from the telecom service operators on 18 March 2021.
Reliance Jio emerged as the top bidder during the bidding, buying spectrum worth Rs 57,122.65 crore within the first spectrum auction in more than four years. Airtel purchased spectrum worth Rs 18,698.75 crore. Vodafone-Idea placed bids of Rs 1,993.40 crore, largely for spectrum renewal.
In the Auction, a total of 2,308.8MHz spectrum was put for bidding. among the seven bands available for auction, demand for 800MHz and 2,300MHz bands was the highest, However, there were no takers for the 700MHz and 2,500MHz bands.