• Thursday, July 25, 2024

Business

India begins £9b spectrum auction

The Indian government earns a significant portion of its revenue from spectrum auctions, which grant telecom companies rights over airwaves for a specified period.

Radio tower picture taken from home roof top in Delhi. (Photo: iStock)

By: Vivek Mishra

INDIA has started the auction of telecom spectrum worth approximately £9.1 billion on Tuesday (25), according to a release. Analysts predict low participation from players who are focusing on strengthening their existing spectrum.

A total of 10 GHz of radio waves, ranging between 800 MHz to 26 GHz, is available in this auction.

The Indian government earns a significant portion of its revenue from spectrum auctions, which grant telecom companies rights over airwaves for a specified period.

In the previous auction in August 2022, telecom companies Vodafone Idea (VI), Bharti Airtel, and Reliance Industries’ Jio Infocomm collectively acquired 5G spectrum worth £15bn to enhance capacities in the world’s second-largest smartphone market.

The amount of spectrum up for auction this time is lower than the previous year’s, as telecom firms have mostly met their bandwidth requirements in the last auction, suggesting they may not bid for larger blocks.

“Bidding is unlikely to be a spirited exercise… we do not expect any player to bid aggressively at the auction,” analysts at Antique Stock Broking said in a note.

Antique expects Bharti to bid for some of its expiring spectrum worth £362 million, while Jio, with no spectrum pending for renewal, is expected to be selective.

Debt-ridden VI may only bid for expiring spectrum or to fill in gaps, the note added.

The auction was delayed twice until a new government was elected, according to a report by The New Indian Express earlier this month, citing unnamed officials.

Shares of the two listed telecom firms erased early gains on the day, with VI down 0.17 per cent and Bharti Airtel down 0.3 per cent.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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