Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have been awarded the spectrum they bought in the newly held 4G auctions by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The DoT finished allocating the spectrum to the telecoms on April 16, 2021.
DoT received a total of Rs 2,306.97 crore from the telcos, including Jio’s Rs 2,149.59 crore and Airtel’s Rs 157.38 crore. MoneyControl reports that the telcos paid the DoT immediately instead of waiting until August-September 2021 to pay.
Airtel and Jio Received 4G Spectrum
In an official statement, the Indian government said telcos have received the spectrum they successfully bid for in the 4G auctions. Spectrum was assigned through a ‘frequency harmonisation exercise’ as the telcos are provided with the new spectrum by adding it directly to the spectrum blocks they already own in different bands and in several licensed service areas (LSAs).
According to the statement, the harmonization of the spectrum was done in over 19 LSAs in the 800 MHz band, 8 LSAs in the 900 MHz, 21 LSAs in the 1800 MHz band, 3 LSAs in the 2100 MHz band, and 16 LSAs in the 2300 MHz band. The government said that harmonization of the spectrum leads to more efficient use of the frequencies by the telecom service providers (TSPs).
In case you are unaware, the 4G spectrum auctions took place on March 1 and March 2, 2021. A total of 2,308.8 MHz of spectrum had been put up for auction in several bands. TSPs have been seen bidding for spectrum in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands. The 700 MHz band and the 2500 MHz band did not find takers due to their high reserve prices.
During the 5G spectrum auctions scheduled for the second half of this year or early next year, the government is expected to slash the price of the 700 MHz band. According to telcos, the 700 MHz band is ‘crucial’ for providing 5G services, so the government will have to do something about its reserve price.
With a bid of Rs 57,122.65 crore, Reliance Jio was the highest bidder. Jio was immediately followed by Bharti Airtel, which spent Rs 18,698.75 crore on spectrum acquisition, while Vodafone Idea (Vi) only bid for spectrum worth Rs 1,993.40 crore. Vi said that it already has a robust spectrum portfolio; thus, it doesn’t need to spend much money on it.