That the government could make just Rs 9,407.6 crore by auctioning 2G airwaves is not so significant. What is notable is that the lesser significant players, Telewings and Videocon together contributed for around 66 percent of the total bid amount. In fact, Telewings alone accounted for around 43 percent of the total.

In other words, if we put aside Telewings’ bid value of Rs 4,018.3 crore for a moment, the 2G auctions raked in a mere Rs 5,389 crore.

Vodafone emerged as the smarted bidder of the lot of five bidders, with an impressive haul of 23 blocks across 14 circles for a total value of Rs 1,127.9 crore only. By comparison, Telewings won 24 blocks across just six circles for more than 3.5 times and may, as such, be termed as the most bubbly of all the bidders. Its choice of circles is reflective of a move to remain anchored in all the four regions of north, south, east and west. This could serve as leverage in the wake of any possible expansions in future.

Idea’s investment of Rs 2,031.3 crore for 30 blocks across eight circles, where it risked losing licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court order, also appears to be reasonably good.

Airtel, satisfied with winning just one block in Assam for Rs 8.67 crore, appeared as overly cautious, guided as if by an intent not to risk hurting investors’ sentiments in any possible manner.

Bids were made for a total of 18 circles out of a total of 22. No bids were made for Delhi, Mumbai, Karnataka and Rajasthan. (See also:

The auctions may be seen as indicative of operators’ focus shifting to circles that offer maximum potential in terms of growing the subscriber bases. So the four circles of Bihar, UP (W) and UP (E) and Maharashtra, which as states together account for more than 34 percent of India’s population, saw 35 spectrum blocks taken up by telcos. A total of 102 blocks were bid for.

In the coming months, this should lead to an increased focus on subscriber growth, which could help offset, at least in part, the ongoing negative subscriber growth in India.

(This was first published in Light Reading India, at
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