Indian Telecom Spectrum Auction

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In India, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) conducts auctions of licenses for electromagnetic spectrum. India was among the early adopters of spectrum auctions beginning auctions in 1991. Despite the early start, services were slow to roll out caused by unforeseen problems with the design and rules of the auction.[1] Potential service providers were required to seek foreign partners, as the DoT felt that no Indian company alone had the financial means to enter the industry. Bidding for all licenses required a two-stage screening process.

2010 Spectrum Auction[edit]

In 2010, 3G and 4G telecom spectrum were auctioned in a highly competitive bidding. The winners were awarded spectrum in September, and Tata Docomo was the first private operator to launch 3G services in India.[2] The Government earned INR677 billion (US$11 billion) from the 3G spectrum auction. While the broadband wireless spectrum auction generated a revenue of INR385 billion (US$6.2 billion). The Government earned a total revenue of over INR1062 billion (US$17 billion) from both auctions.

Participants[edit]

The private companies which participated in the auction were:

Apart from the above state-owned BSNL and MTNL were also awarded spectrum, although they did not participate in the auction. [3] BSNL paid the Indian government INR 101.87 billion for spectrum in all 22 circles it operates in. State-owned MTNL provides 3G services in the other 2 circles – Delhi and Mumbai. [4]

Results[edit]

The auction took place over 34 days and consisted of 183 rounds of bidding. The most expensive telecom circle was Delhi at a price of INR 33169 million per operator. The five most expensive circles were Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. They accounted for 65.56% of the total bids.[4][5]

Circle / Operator Vodafone Bharti Airtel Reliance Tata DoCoMo Idea Aircel S Tel BSNL MTNL Total
Andhra Pradesh N YesY N N YesY YesY N YesY N 4
Assam N YesY YesY N N YesY N YesY N 4
Bihar N YesY YesY N N YesY YesY YesY N 5
Delhi YesY YesY YesY N N N N N YesY 4
Gujarat YesY N N YesY YesY N N YesY N 4
Haryana YesY N N YesY YesY N N YesY N 4
Himachal Pradesh N YesY YesY N YesY N YesY YesY N 5
Jammu & Kashmir N YesY YesY N YesY YesY N YesY N 5
Karnataka N YesY N YesY N YesY N YesY N 4
Kerala N N N YesY YesY YesY N YesY N 4
Kolkata YesY N YesY N N YesY N YesY N 4
Madhya Pradesh N N YesY YesY YesY N N YesY N 4
Maharashtra & Goa YesY N N YesY YesY N N YesY N 4
Mumbai YesY YesY YesY N N N N N YesY 4
North East N YesY YesY N N YesY N YesY N 4
Orissa N N YesY N N YesY YesY YesY N 4
Punjab N N YesY YesY YesY YesY N YesY N 5
Rajasthan N YesY YesY YesY N N N YesY N 4
Tamil Nadu YesY YesY N N N YesY N YesY N 4
Uttar Pradesh (East) YesY N N N YesY YesY N YesY N 4
Uttar Pradesh (West) N YesY N YesY YesY N N YesY N 4
West Bengal YesY YesY YesY N N YesY N YesY N 5
Total 9 13 13 9 11 13 3 20 2 93

2012 Spectrum Auction[edit]

In 2012, the DoT auctioned 2G spectrum in both GSM and CDMA bands. The government put on sale 271.25 MHz of spectrum.[6] The 1800 MHz band and 800 MHz band are currently being used for GSM and CDMA services respectively. Eleven blocks having 1.25 MHz each in the 1800 MHz frequency band were auctioned, except in Mumbai and Delhi where only eight blocks were available. Three of the eleven blocks, in each circle, were reserved or new telecom players for operators whose licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court on 2 February 2012, following the 2G spectrum scam. New players and companies affected by the Supreme Court verdict will have to win at least 4 blocks in each circle to start or continue their operations in that circle. Existing players whose licences were not affected by the Supreme Court verdict can bid for only 2 blocks in each circle. This applies to all circles of Airtel and Vodafone, and in some circles for Idea.[7]

Three blocks of 1.25 MHz frequency each in the 800 MHz band were also available for auction.[8] Initially, only Videocon Telecommunications Limited and Tata Teleservices (Tata DoCoMo CDMA) had applied to participate in the auction for spectrum in 800 MHz band (CDMA). Both companies withdrew their applications before 5 November, the last date for withdrawal of applications. Videocon was announced as a pre-qualifier in the bidding process by the DoT on 29 October, but withdrew its application on 2 November.[9] Tata Teleservices was also announced as a pre-qualifier on 29 October, but withdrew its bid later. The withdrawals meant that there were no bidders left and the CDMA spectrum auction was subsequently cancelled.[10]

The final list of bidders was announced on 6 November. This was followed by a mock auction on 7 and 8 November and the e-auction of 1,800 MHz band began on 12 November.[11]

Participants[edit]

The companies which participated in the auction for spectrum in 1800 MHz band (GSM) were:

Results[edit]

The auction took place over 2 days (starting 12 November and ending 14 November) and consisted of 14 rounds. The government received bids worth a total of INR94.07 billion (US$1.5 billion), far lower than its target of INR 280 billion. No one bid on the India-wide spectrum, which had a reserve price of Rs 140 billion.[12] Bids were tendered on 102 of the 140 blocks being offered. Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan circles did not receive any bids. Minister of Communications and Information Technology Kapil Sibal said of the unsold spectrum, "Of course there will be an auction. There is no doubt about that. What procedure we follow for that auction is something that we will decide in another few weeks."[13][14]

Circle / Operator Vodafone Airtel Uninor Idea Videocon
Assam YesY YesY N YesY N
Andhra Pradesh N N YesY N N
Bihar YesY N YesY YesY YesY
Delhi No bid
Gujarat YesY N YesY N YesY
Haryana YesY N N N YesY
Himachal Pradesh YesY N N N N
Jammu & Kashmir YesY N N YesY N
Karnataka No bid
Kerala YesY N N N N
Kolkata N N N YesY N
Madhya Pradesh YesY N N N YesY
Maharashtra & Goa YesY N YesY N N
Mumbai No bid
Punjab YesY N N N N
North East YesY N N YesY N
Orissa YesY N N YesY N
Rajasthan No bid
Tamil Nadu N N N YesY N
Uttar Pradesh (East) YesY N YesY N YesY
Uttar Pradesh (West) YesY N YesY N YesY
West Bengal YesY N N YesY N
No. of Circles 15 1 6 8 6
Total Amount (INR crores) 1,127.94 8.67 4,018 2,031 2,221

2013 Spectrum Auction[edit]

In the 2013 spectrum auction, the Government planned to auction 50 MHz of airwaves in the 1800 MHz band and 76.25 MHz of spectrum in the 800 MHz band.[15] The Government put CDMA spectrum worth INR64 billion (US$1.0 billion) up for auction[16][17] and fixed the price of 900 MHz, two times higher than 1800 MHz.[18] DoT issued notice inviting applications for spectrum auction on 30 January 2013, and the last date for submitting an application was 25 February 2013.[19] The auction for all three bands was planned to begin on 11 March 2013. However, no bidders expressed interest in the 1800 MHz and 900 MHz bands and as a result, the auction for those bands was postponed indefinitely. The auction for spectrum in 800 MHz band proceeded as planned on 11 March.[20]

No companies tendered bids for spectrum in 1800 MHz and 900 MHz bands, and MTS India was the only bidder in the 800 MHz band.[21] Vodafone Group's CEO Vittorio Colao stated, "The problem is that in India there is a misperception of what is the value of spectrum. The reserve prices are set too high. India has very low prices and very low revenues so we cannot afford to pay high price for spectrum. We have told them [Indian government] a number of times that the order of magnitude that they have in mind just does not make sense".[18]

Results of the 2013 spectrum auction
Circle Price per block
Delhi INR4505 million (US$73 million)
Gujarat INR1462 million (US$24 million)
Karnataka INR2146 million (US$35 million)
Kerala INR425 million (US$6.9 million)
Kolkata INR739 million (US$12 million)
Maharashtra & Goa No bid
Mumbai No bid
Tamil Nadu INR1989.6 million (US$32 million)
Uttar Pradesh (East) No bid
Uttar Pradesh (West) INR698 million (US$11 million)
West Bengal INR168 million (US$2.7 million)

Participant[edit]

The sole bidder in the auction was Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL), under the brand name MTS, who bid for spectrum in the 800 MHz band.

Results[edit]

The auction was held on 11 March and lasted little over 4 hours.[22] Auction rounds were scheduled to begin between 0900 hrs and 1900 hrs IST.[16] The table shows the prices per block for each of the 11 telecom circles in which spectrum was put up for auction. The participant in the auction, MTS, won spectrum in 8 circles and did not bid for 3 circles. No spectrum was put up for auction in the remaining circles of India.[23]

2014 Spectrum Auction[edit]

In 2014, the Dot auctioned 2G telecom spectrum in the frequency range of 900Mhz and 1800 MHz. The winners were awarded spectrum in February. The Government earned INR612 billion (US$9.9 billion) from the spectrum auction. The 1800 MHz spectrum auctioned were cancelled by the Supreme Court, following the 2G spectrum scam. The government put on sale 307.2 MHz of 1800 and 46 MHz of 900 MHz-wide spectrum. The licences are valid for 20 years. Vodafone and Bharti were already using 900 MHz frequency and had to renew before their license expire in November 2014. Reliance Jio, the only company to have all-India 4G license entered into voice service and won in 14 circles in 1800 MHz frequency.[24] Companies also plan to provide 3G and 4G services on the spectrum.[25]

Participants[edit]

The private companies which participated in the auction were:

Results[edit]

The auction took place over 10 days and consisted of 68 rounds of bidding. The most expensive telecom circle in both 900 & 1800 MHz frequencies[26] was Delhi at a price of INR 7409.6 million and INR 728 million per operator. Delhi and Mumbai together accounted for 57% of the total bids.[27]

900 MHz
Circle / Operator Vodafone Airtel Idea Total
Delhi YesY YesY YesY 3
Kolkata YesY YesY N 2
Mumbai YesY YesY N 2
Total 3 3 1 7
1800 MHz
Circle / Operator Vodafone Airtel Rel Jio Idea Aircel Uninor RCom Tata Total
Andhra Pradesh YesY YesY YesY YesY N YesY N N 5
Assam N N YesY N N YesY N N 2
Bihar N N N N N YesY N N 1
Delhi YesY YesY YesY YesY N N N N 4
Gujarat YesY N YesY YesY N N N N 3
Haryana YesY N N YesY N N N N 2
Himachal Pradesh N YesY N N N N N N 1
Jammu & Kashmir N YesY N N YesY N N N 2
Karnataka YesY YesY YesY YesY N N N N 4
Kerala YesY YesY YesY YesY N N N N 4
Kolkata YesY YesY YesY N N N N N 3
Madhya Pradesh N YesY YesY YesY N N N N 3
Maharashtra & Goa N N YesY YesY N N N N 2
Mumbai YesY YesY YesY YesY N N YesY N 5
North East N YesY YesY YesY YesY N N N 4
Orissa N YesY YesY N N N N N 2
Punjab YesY YesY N YesY N N N N 3
Rajasthan YesY YesY N N YesY N N N 3
Tamil Nadu N YesY YesY N N N N N 2
Uttar Pradesh (East) YesY N N N YesY YesY N N 3
Uttar Pradesh (West) N N N N N YesY N N 1
West Bengal N YesY YesY N YesY N N N 3
Total 11 15 14 11 5 5 1 0 62

Source:2014 Auction Provisional Results

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jain, R; R.S. (2001). "Spectrum auctions in India: Lessons from experience". Telecommunications Policy 25 (10–11): 671–688. doi:10.1016/S0308-5961(01)00047-7. 
  2. ^ "3G spectrum auction begins smoothly, top telecom operators in fray". The Times of India. 9 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Lobo, Sharon (26 April 2010). "Impact of 3G auction on MTNL and BSNL". CXOtoday.com. 
  4. ^ a b "India's 3G Auction Ends; Operator And Circle-Wise Results". Medianama.com. 19 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Official results for 3G Spectrum Auctions: Department of Telecomm – Government of India
  6. ^ EGoM on 2G spectrum auction to meet tomorrow – Hindustan Times
  7. ^ "Four rounds on, response to spectrum auction remains muted – India – DNA". Dnaindia.com. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  8. ^ "DoT issues guidelines for spectrum auction". IBN Live. 28 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "Videocon Telecommunications Withdraws Bid for CDMA Spectrum". Telecom Talk. 2 November 2012. 
  10. ^ "Exclusive : Tata Teleservices Withdraws Bid for 800 Mhz CDMA Spectrum, No Taker For CDMA in India!". Telecom Talk. 5 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "DoT Issues Final List of Bidders For 1800 MHz GSM Spectrum Auction". Telecom Talk. 6 November 2012. 
  12. ^ "2G auctions flop as 57% of spectrum remains unsold; govt gets less than a quarter of its revenue target – Economic Times". Economictimes.indiatimes.com. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  13. ^ "2G spectrum auction flops; fetches a meagre Rs9,407 crore - NDTVProfit.com". Profit.ndtv.com. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  14. ^ Bafna, Sanjay. "India's 2G Spectrum Auction Ends, Operator And Circle-Wise List of Winners". Telecomtalk.info. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  15. ^ "Telecom spectrum auction application process ends today". Business Standard. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "2G spectrum auction: Sistema Shyam Teleservices sole bidder in round 2 - The Times of India". The Times of India. 
  17. ^ "Second round of spectrum auction from tomorrow, SSTL lone bidder". The Times of India. 10 March 2013. 
  18. ^ a b PTI (26 February 2013). "Spectrum auction base price too high in India: Vodafone CEO – Economic Times". Economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  19. ^ "CDMA spectrum auction from March 11". Smetimes.in. 27 February 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  20. ^ By R. Jai Krishna (26 February 2013). "India Postpones Part of Bandwidth Auction - WSJ.com". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  21. ^ "March 2G spectrum auction in jeopardy as telcos keep distance – Mobile Phone | ThinkDigit News". Thinkdigit.com. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  22. ^ SSTL bags 8 circles in single-race CDMA spectrum auction – Mobile Phone | ThinkDigit News
  23. ^ Sistema Secures CDMA Spectrum In 8 Circles For Rs 3,639 Cr; Closing Down In 3 Circles – MediaNama
  24. ^ "2G spectrum auction nets Rs. 61,162 crore: 10 things to know". NDTV. 14 February 2014. 
  25. ^ "Spectrum auction sets stage for next round of telecom competition". Livemint. 14 February 2014. 
  26. ^ [1]
  27. ^ "India’s 2014 2G Auction Ends: Operator & Circle Results". MediaNama. 14 February 2014.