India completed its latest spectrum auction on Thursday, reportedly raising $9.8 billion from the process.
But there was a big name missing from the list of provisional winners.
Tata Teleservices was the only telco out of the eight that paid to participate that did not secure any of the 1800 MHz or 900 MHz frequencies up for grabs, according to documents published by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Speculation has been growing recently that Tata is looking to exit the telecoms industry altogether, and is in talks to sell Tata Communications and Tata Teleservices to Vodafone.
The DoT has yet to disclose how much it raised from the auction, but according to Bloomberg, the government received bids totalling 375.5 billion rupees (US$6 billion) for 1800-MHz spectrum in 22 telecom service areas, or circles as they are known in India, and INR235.9 billion ($3.8 billion) for 900-MHz spectrum in the Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai circles.
In Delhi and Mumbai, market leader Bharti Airtel and second-placed Vodafone needed to secure 900-MHz airwaves to keep services there up and running, which they duly did. Idea Cellular also managed to pick up some 900-MHz spectrum in Delhi.
Reliance Jio Infocomm, which is the process of rolling out a nationwide TD-LTE network, picked up 1800-MHz spectrum in 14 circles including Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai, paving the way for it to offer basic mobile services in addition to mobile broadband. The other bidders, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance Communications, Aircel, and Telewings, also managed to secure 1800-MHz spectrum in various circles. (click here for the provisional results in full).
Telenor's Uninor unit, which controls Telewings, announced in a statement that it paid INR8.4 billion ($134.9 million) for 1800-MHz spectrum in five circles.
"With its auction strategy, Uninor has ensured that it can continue to offer the most affordable tariffs in each of its seven circles while maintaining a healthy business case," said Morten Karlsen Sorby, CEO-elect at Uninor. "We have now secured a spectrum platform for continuing growth and profitability in each of our circles."