Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha has termed the recently concluded spectrum auction a “success”, saying that the spectrum sold is about 965 megahertz, which is more than the amount of spectrum sold cumulatively in the auctions in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
“This spectrum auction was the biggest auction ever. This was the highest spectrum sale 4 years which witnessed the sale of 964.8 Mhz. I totally disagree with the statement that this spectrum auction was a ‘failure’ (according to newspapers),” Sinha told media, adding that the auction payment of Rs 32000 crore is the highest till now.
India’s biggest spectrum auction saw telecom companies placing bids worth Rs 65,789 crore in five days, leaving almost 60% of the airwaves unsold, including the premium 700 MHz (4G) and 900 MHz bands, due to steep pricing by the Indian government. It was estimated that the auction would have fetched Rs 56 lakh crore if all the spectrum on offer was sold at the reserve price.
The minister said the telecom department would be able to meet the budget revenue estimate of Rs 98,000 crore this financial year from the upfront payment and other sources. Telcos will be paying Rs 32000 crore as upfront auction payment, which Sinha said, “is the highest till now.”
Telecom Secretary J S Deepak’s views concur with those of telecom minister Manoj Sinha. “The problem of the industry being starved of spectrum and that being a constraint to providing quality of services is over. According to me, spectrum scarcity in India is now history,” Deepak told media.
Interestingly, Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal also said that the just-concluded auction of airwaves had resolved one of the largest issues that the industry faced inadequate spectrum and that it was “not a failure
“Spectrum was one of the biggest issues that has been resolved to a very large degree. Lots of spectrum was put up on the table. Most has been picked up and more will be picked up. I think the rollout is now accelerating,” Mittal was quoted as saying at the India Economic Summit.