Bidding for the sixth round of spectrum auction for radiowaves worth Rs 3.92 lakh crore will start from 1 March, according to a notice issued by the Department of Telecom today. The long-awaited spectrum auction is being held after a gap of four years and over two years after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) calculated and recommended base price for the radiowaves. The DOT has fixed 12 January for the pre-bid conference and 28 January as the last date for seeking clarification to the notice. Telecom operators will need to submit their application by 5 February for participation in the auction. The final list of the bidders will be declared on 24 February and the auction process is scheduled to begin from 1 March.
The Union Cabinet had approved the proposal to auction 2,251.25 Megahertz (MHz) of spectrum worth Rs 3.92 lakh crore on 17 December 2020, in seven frequency bands -700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz- at the base price recommended by the TRAI. The government has kept the frequency bands of 3,300- 3,600 MHz band that industry identifies for rolling out 5G services out of the upcoming auction. These frequencies were part of TRAI recommendations for the auction. Bidders opting for 700 MHz band will have to shell out at least Rs 32,905 crore on pan India basis for the frequencies in the premium spectrum band. The signals transmitted in the 700 MHz band are considered to cover three times compared to 2100 MHz band - popularly known as 3G band. The DOT has made available spectrum in all the 22 telecom circles across the country for 700 MHz band, 800 MHz band and 2300 MHz band, while radiowaves in 1800 MHz band are available in 21 circles, 900 MHz band and 2100 MHz bands in 19 circles each and 2500 MHz in 12 circles only. Successful bidders opting for full upfront payment will need to do so within 10 days of declaration of the result.