The Indian government is likely to generate as much as INR327 billion ($5.3 billion) from Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular in next year’s spectrum auction, Morgan Stanley has estimated.
The government plans to auction airwaves in two frequency bands early in 2015. The 900MHz sale will be held because operators’ 20-year licences expire, while the 1.8GHz spectrum to be auctioned was unsold in February’s auction.
The brokerage expects the prices for the 900MHz and 1.8GHz frequency to be 16.5 per cent and 5.7 per cent higher, respectively, than the reserve price set by the government, the Economic Times reported.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) of India suggested on 15 October a base price of INR30.04 billion for the 900MHz band and INR21.38 billion as the starting price for 1.8GHz allotment. The 900MHz frequency will be auctioned off in 18 service areas while the 1.8GHz will be sold in 22 regions.
TRAI, however, is pushing the government to hold off on the auction until more spectrum is made available across the country, the Times said. It has suggested selling 800MHz and 2.1GHz airwaves.
Last week Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas joined Vodafone in calling for the Indian government to release much-needed spectrum to ensure the country’s mobile operators can keep up with soaring demand. At the same time Vodafone India has formally requested the Department of Telecommunications to immediately release the 1.8GHz spectrum it won in the February auction and paid for in March.
Mobile World Live reported in August that Reliance Communications, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular could lose sizeable chunks of their revenue if they don’t win back their existing spectrum in certain regions during next year’s spectrum auction.