The Union Cabinet on June 22 approved a mega spectrum auction plan which could add Rs 5.66 lakh crore to the government coffers. A notice inviting application is likely to be issued by July 1, 2016, followed by pre-bid conference on July 6. Bidding may take place from September 1, 2016.
The auction will see the debut of the most effective 700 MHz band. There are likely to be few takers for this expensive (with a base price of Rs 11,485 crore for 1MHz) slot as a player bidding for the 700 MHz band will need a minimum of
Rs. 57,425 crore for a block of 5 MHz on a pan-India basis. Above all, this band alone can fetch bids worth over Rs. 4 lakh crore which is almost double of the telecom services industry’s gross revenue (at Rs. 2.54 lakh crore in 2014-15).
Others that may be under the hammer are the 800MHz, 900MHz 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands. The auction will improve reach and quality of data services in India. While the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has given its approval, discussions are still on regarding the spectrum usage charges. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has dubbed the auctions as the biggest ever in Indian history.