Editor's comment: The amount of money the Indian government is raising through a spectrum auction is staggering.
India's biggest auction of telecom spectrum kicked off on Saturday morning with seven operators in fray for a total of 2,354.55 MHz across seven bands, towards which a reserve price of Rs 5.66 lakh crore ($85 billion) has been fixed by the government.
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The companies that are participating in the auction are Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Tata Tele -- who have together furnished a total earnest money of Rs 14,653 crore.
The auction is central to the government realising the revenue target of Rs 98,994.93 crore that has been provided for in the budget against 'other communications services' -- the bulk of which is scheduled from the fee paid for spectrum.
The auction timings are from 9 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
The 2,300-plus MHz of airwaves on the block for telecom operators are in seven bands -- 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz. In the previous auction 470.75 MHz was on offer, which is set to fetch the exchequer $17 billion during the tenure of licence.