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Jyotiraditya Scindia aims for successful spectrum auction

The newly appointed Telecom Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia’s first task as the Minister of the department is to make the upcoming spectrum auction a successful one, especially with telecom operators looking at expansion of 5G across India and renewal of their existing licences.

The spectrum auction is expected to bring in cash flows in the first half of the current fiscal to the Modi 3.0 government, which will be an important milestone for Scindia too.

According to sources in the know, Scindia took a long meeting with the senior officials of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) including Secretary, Member (Finance) and Member (Technology) on Tuesday, soon after taking his office as the new Telecom Minister.

spectrum auction
“The Minister wanted to know about the progress and preparations for the upcoming spectrum auctions, apart from other developments in the telecom sector,” a senior official privy of the meeting told businessline.

The spectrum auction 2024, which has been deferred twice, will kickstart from June 25.

Interestingly, this is the second stint of Scindia in the Telecom Ministry, after being the junior Minister between 2007 and 2009, in the UPA-I government.

“It is also a little bit like coming full circle for me. I worked as a junior minister in this department in 2007, 2008 and 2009… For me, this is also a department with which I have had tremendous emotional ties,” Scindia had said on his first day at office.

The DoT is placing spectrum worth ₹96,317.65 crore for the upcoming auction, where a total of 10,513.15 MHz of spectrum will be put to auction including 118.75 MHz (paired) of 800 MHz, 118 MHz (paired) in 900 MHz, 221.4 MHz (paired) in 1800 MHz, 125 MHz (paired) in 2100 MHz, 60 MHz in 2300 MHz, 70 MHz in 2500 MHz, 1,100 MHz in 3300 MHz and 8,700 MHz in 26 GHz.

Last month, three major telecom service providers (TSPs) — Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone-Idea — were selected as pre-qualified bidders for the auction. Airtel has deposited ₹1,050 crore, Reliance Jio ₹3,000 crore, and Vodafone Idea ₹300 crore as earnest money, respectively.

The DoT is expecting a haul of at least ₹40,000 crore from the auction, estimated through earnest money (₹4,350 crore) that the TSPs had deposited.

The government had earned a total of ₹1,50,173 crore from the last auction held in July 2022, under the leadership of Ashwini Vaishnaw as the Telecom Minister, which was the highest-ever revenue collected from a single auction. The Hindu BusinessLine

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