The Indian telecom sector earned the government handsome revenues in FY23. This was due to the spectrum auction held in mid-2022. In FY24, the government is expecting to rake in Rs 89,469.17 crore from the telecom sector. It is worth noting that finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not make any announcements regarding holding a spectrum auction in 2024. But a spectrum auction is likely to be conducted every financial year from now. Thus, even if the finance minister didn't say anything, the government will hold another spectrum auction in 2024. This is why the government expects a 30% on-year jump in revenue from the telecom sector.
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The 2022 spectrum auctions were really successful for the government. Telcos, along with the new entrant Adani Data Networks, paid close to Rs 18,000 crore as an advance payment for the spectrum bought during the auctions. A 2023 auction would further enable the telcos to boost their spectrum portfolio for rolling out 5G and strengthening the 4G network performance.
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Apart from the revenues from the spectrum auctions, the government also earns from the telecom sector in the form of license fees (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC). The telcos have been after the government to reduce the license fee from 8% to 1%. But the government is unlikely to do that in the short-term as the telecom sector has received a lot of help already.
From the revenue expectations of the government from the telecom sector in FY24, it is very much possible that another spectrum auction is around the corner for the telcos. It would be interesting to see how the telcos bid in the upcoming auction (if there is any) as they most likely don't need a ton of additional airwaves in the short term, and Vodafone Idea (Vi) can't even afford to bid for a lot.