India raises $10.4 billion in two days of spectrum auction

India raises $10.4 billion in two days of spectrum auction

India’s spectrum auction has raised approximately $10.4 billion (650 billion rupees) within the first two days of bidding.

Eight operators are participating to acquire spectrum across four bands – 800MHz, 900MHz, 1,800MHz and 2,100MHz – in an auction which India’s government estimates could raise as much as $13.3 billion.

The auction, which began on Wednesday, is the country’s fourth and largest sale of 2G and 3G airwaves to date. A total of 11 rounds of bidding have been completed in the two days, with approximately $9.6 billion (600 billion rupees) raised on the first day. 

Reliance Jio’s participation has pressured market leaders Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India to protect their spectrum. Its owner, billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has invested heavily in the company as Reliance Jio prepares to roll out its 4G LTE services later this year. 

The auction saw the highest demand for spectrum in the 900MHz band, presently held by Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Idea Cellular and Reliance Telecom. 

The eight operators participating in the auction are: Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Tata Teleservices, Uninor, Idea Cellular and Aircel. 

Last February, the government raised nearly $10 billion in bids, far exceeding the government’s target of $1.8 billion.