Govt. gets bids of Rs 42K crore on first day of 2G spectrum auction

2G spectrum auctionThe government received bids of around Rs 42,000 crore on the first day of 2G spectrum auctions on Monday, February 3. According to recently released official figures, telecom operators made bids of Rs 41,918 crore, much higher than the government's initial estimated figure of Rs 11,300 crore.

As the estimated collection exceeded the target on the very first day of the auction, it must have brought a great respite for the government, which has long been struggling to fund its fiscal deficit.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said, "I think it is going very well. it is exceeding expectations. We should see a smile on the face of the finance minister."

The government is auctioning spectrum for 22 telecom circles across the country - for 900 MHz band in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai circles and for 1,800 MHz band in the remaining telecom circles of the country. Delhi and Mumbai circles are witnessing fierce competition, mainly because telecom giants like Vodafone and Airtel are competing to win spectrum in these two circles.

Currently, India's leading telecom firm Airtel does not own spectrum in the 900 MHz band in Mumbai, while Vodafone wants to acquire additional spectrum in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai circles. The eleventh hour entry of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) into the auction fray hiked the prospect of aggressive bidding for 2G spectrum.

Apart from Airtel, Vodafone and RIL, the list of participants includes Idea Cellular, Aircel, Tata Teleservices Ltd and Telenor.