2G auction: bid for 98 blocks across 18 circles
There has been a lukewarm opening to the auction of 2G spectrum, which began today, with no bidders for Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan and Karnataka circles, sources said.
Bids for 98 blocks across 18 circles, out of the total 176 blocks in 22 circles for which auction is being held, were received till the end of the fifth round.
The sources said that revenue of Rs 9,260 crore has so far been received from the bids, a far cry from the Rs 40,000 crore that the Government hoped to receive from the auction.
According to sources, bids have been received for nine blocks for Uttar Pradesh (East), ten for UP (West), eight each for Gujarat and Bihar, seven in Assam, six each in West Bengal, Haryana, Orissa, J and K, Madhya Pradesh and North-East, five in Maharashtra, four each in Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata and Tamil Nadu, and one each in Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Punjab.
However, there have been no bidders yet for the Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan and Karnataka circles.
Also, there has been no bidder for a pan-India licence.
According to sources, the poor response for the pan-India license and 2G spectrum in all 22 telecom circles is because of the high base price of Rs 14,000 crore for 5 MHz of GSM airwaves fixed by the eGoM in all the 22 telecom zones.
The sources said the base price is more than seven times what companies paid in the 2008 grant process.
About six to seven rounds of auction are to be held in a day. Telcos will get another chance to bid for circles that remain unsold after the initial rounds of bidding.
And then, if there are still interested bidders, the auction will continue the next day. The government is yet to decide on what will be done in circles that remain unsold after the auction ends.
Till it does, no bidders in a circle will mean only the existing players will keep operating in that circle. Bidding for each circle is happening separately. Many circles have so far seen fewer bidders than the number of blocks up for grabs, sources said, which means an auction is not possible for those circles.