Pricey spectrum bids won’t cause mobile tariffs to shoot up, union communications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in the wake of the announcement that the government would earn Rs 28,872 crore up front out of the total commitment of Rs 1.1 lakh crore made during the auction.
“We have done a study, and the impact on consumer tariff will be minimal. I do not agree that there is a need to increase the tariff on telecom users,” he said.
Prasad said the total load on telcos would be Rs 5,300 crore, or 1.3 paise per minute of call-time.
Eight operators jostled with each other for precious radio waves in the fiercely contested bids that spanned over 19 days to end on Wednesday.
Idea Cellular emerged as the top bidder in the latest round of auctions with a total commitment of Rs 30,306 crore.
Of the eight participants, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Jio, Reliance Communications, Aircel and Tata Teleservice bagged spectrum waves, while Telewings Communications Services drew a blank.
The government made the announcement on Thursday, after the Supreme Court (SC) relaxed its earlier order restraining finalisation of bids – albeit with a caveat.
The SC bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C Pant paved the way for the announcement, but said the actual awarding of airwaves should await further orders, since the bench was still in the process of hearing the petitions filed in this regard.
In all, 470.75 MHz has been put to auction across the 800, 900, 1,800 & 2,100-MHz bandwidths. This compares with the 390 MHz in November 2012 and 426 MHz in February 2014. This is the first time that spectrum has been offered simultaneously across four bandwidths. Previously, they offered in sequential auctions, Prasad said.