Today was the first day of the spectrum auction of 800, 900, 1800 and 2100MHz bands. The bidding process completed 6 clock rounds today. At the end of 6 rounds of bidding there was excess demand for 900MHz spectrum in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha, UP East and UP West, and demand was equal to the spectrum available in Bihar and Rajasthan circles.
In the 1800MHz band, there was excess demand for spectrum only in Andhra Pradesh. In the 800MHz spectrum there was limited demand in the circles of Assam, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, North East and Odisha but in all circles the demand was less than the spectrum available which means no increase in price for 800MHz for clock round 7. In 2100MHz bands there were no bids in any of the metro circles of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, there was just 1 bid each in the circles Assam, North East, Odisha and Rajasthan.
At the end of the first day it looks like the operators are playing it cool with their bids, we are not witnessing the aggressive bidding like we saw in 2010 3G auctions. The auction has the potential for going on for a long time and the bids will increase in a number as more and more clock rounds occur. But it seems this time the operators have their strategies planned out and are keeping in mind the financial stress of their companies and trying to minimise the increase in debt that the auction can lead them into.
The demand for 800MHz spectrum most likely seems to be coming from Reliance Jio which may be looking to use it for FD-LTE since it is mainly in the 8 circles in which they did not win 1800MHz spectrum last year and not enough is available in contiguous blocks this time either. It seems the Government may just about be able to meet its target revenue without the operators suffering too heavily.
Physiotherapist by day and techno buff by evening, Esmail is our very own in-house spectrum specialist. He has a keen eye for the Mobile data and DTH segments.