Friday, December 3, 2021

DoT demand notes for spectrum auctioned ready, to seek upfront payments from telcos this week

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is set to place demand notes to telecom majors for payment of spectrum acquired in the recent auctions. The department has already prepared a draft note in this regard, which will be shared with the bid winners this week.

The department is likely to rake in over Rs 77,800 crore, for 855.6 MHz of spectrum already auctioned. Among the top bidders in the recently concluded auction included industrialist Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

While Jio spent the most in the auction, picking up 488.35 MHz spectrum in bands such as 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz for Rs 57,122.65 crore, Airtel bid about Rs 18,699 crore to acquire 355.45 megahertz (MHz) out of the total 855.60 MHz of radiofrequency acquired by all telcos. Vodafone Idea bought 11.80 MHz of spectrum worth Rs 1,993.40 crore.

According to DoT, the demand notes will be sent out to the three companies this week, and entails largely the upfront payment for spectrum that is ready to be allocated.

Spectrum to these tecos will be offered for assignment for a validity period of 20 years. As per the auction terms, successful bidders can pay entire bid amount in one go, or exercise an option to pay a certain amount (25 per cent for spectrum won in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz bands or 50% for spectrum won in 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz bands) upfront with remaining amount in a maximum up to 16 equated annual instalments, after a moratorium of two years.

Earlier about 2308.80 MHz of spectrum, that carry telecom signals in seven bands worth nearly Rs 4 lakh crore at start price, was up for bidding in the auction held recently. In the recent bidding Reliance Jio has acquired the right to use spectrum in all 22 circles or zones across India, in the auctions. Jio has bagged spectrum in bands such as 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz, and its spectrum footprint is up by 55 per cent to 1,717 MHz.

Vodafone Idea has bought 5.8 MHz spectrum in 900-band and 6 MHz in the 1800-band. The company acquired spectrum in 900 band for Rs 1,274 crore and in 1800 band for Rs 719 crore.

Jio, in the 800 MHz band, has acquired spectrum for Rs 34,491 crore; in 1800 MHz, for Rs 12,461 crore; and in 2300 MHz, for Rs 10,170 crore. Bharti Airtel has paid maximum for 900 MHz band (Rs 6,448 crore), 1800 MHz (Rs 5,816 crore), 800 MHz (Rs 3,008 crore), 2300 MHz (Rs 3,070 crore), 2100 MHz (Rs 355 crore), DoT data showed.


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