Eight telecom firms, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and new entrant Reliance Jio Infocomm, were in the fray. The telecom players bid aggressively in the 900 Mhz, which was in short supply and being auctioned in just three cities, including Delhi and Mumbai, the two most important markets.
The stakes were especially high for Vodafone and Bharti after the Supreme Court refused to extend their licences in the 900 Mhz band for Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The government had set a target of Rs. 40,874 crore for this fiscal year (FY14) from spectrum, including the auction amount, one-time spectrum charge and annual regular licence fee. The bidders can pay the part of the money upfront and the remaining amount in yearly instalments. At a minimum, the government would get an estimated Rs. 18,000 crore this fiscal, much higher than budget estimates of Rs. 11,300 crore.
The telecom department had put on the block about 385 MHz of radio waves in the 1800 MHz band and 46 MHz in the 900 MHz band. This was third auction of 2G spectrum after the Supreme Court had cancelled 122 licences in February 2012