The auction process completed 7 rounds of bidding bringing the total up to 74 rounds of bidding so far, there was no activity in the 2100MHz band. In the 1800MHz band there were bids in Himachal Pradesh, UP East and Kerala circle but by the end of round 74 there was no fresh demand. In 900MHz band there was bidding activity in West Bengal but by the end of round 74 there was no excess demand in this band in any circle. In 800MHz band there was aggressive bidding and at the end of round 74 there was surplus demand in Assam, Delhi and Maharashtra circles.
The total bid amount rose to 1,07,000 Crore and approximately 88% of the total spectrum has been provisionally allocated. In a recent note, equity research firm Morgan Stanley had predicted that the current auctions could settle at Rs 1,18,500 crore. "Operators would need a hike in tariffs of 5 paise or 15 per cent to neutralise its impact on profits. The spectrum is valid for 20 years and hence, there is a lot more certainty from a business continuity perspective. Data growth is happening at a robust pace, which should aid overall revenue growth for the operators," it noted.
There is still no demand for 2100MHz spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh n account of high floor price. The reduced bidding activity indicates that the spectrum auction is nearing its closure. Even after the auction is over, the winners will not be declared till Supreme court gives its verdict on the plea filed by the incumbents, the hearing of which is on 26th March. Keep reading TT for daily updates on the auction process.