Public telecom operator, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) after gauging its outlook and its hopes to become profitable again after 4 years, wants to buy the premium spectrum band of 700 MHz.
BSNL has shown interest in buying the most expensive and efficient spectrum band at 6 telecom circles. These 6 telecom circles are Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata & Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Karnataka. This move will not only strengthen BSNL’s coverage in the country but will also boost its revenue stream significantly.
BSNL doesn’t have the licence to operate in the 2500 MHz band in these telecom circles, and hence the operator is willing to buy the market determined price for the 700 MHz airwaves. It is also planning to ask the government to keep one slot reserved for it till the auction concludes.
BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava mentioned that the matter has been discussed internally and soon it will write to government to reserve one slot for it. According to him, the ecosystem for 700 Mhz is developing very fast because it will give better coverage to the telecom operators.
TRAI has regulated a price of Rs. 11,485 per MHz in the 700 MHz spectrum. Many operators are of the opinion that this is way too much and will constrain their balance sheets. However, no operator has ever said that it doesn’t want to participate in the bidding process.
It is estimated that the upcoming spectrum auctions will add Rs. 56,034.35 crore to the government’s income for FY17. The spectrum auctions will be held in June 2016, and will include bidding for seven bands of 2G, 3G, and 4G airwaves, plus the much coveted 700 MHz band. These auctions will generate a total revenue of Rs. 5.44 lakh crore for the government.
This year, the starting price of 800 MHz band would be Rs. 5,819 crore per MHz, an increase of 60% from the last year’s starting price.
We will cover details about the spectrum auctions as and when more information emerges. Stay tuned on ITN.