- Reliance Jio has submitted Rs. 9000 crore as EMD
- Bharti Airtel has submitted Rs. 3000 crore as EMD
- Vodafone Idea has submitted Rs. 500 crore as EMD
All three private operators have submitted applications for participating in the spectrum auction which is scheduled to happen on 1st of March. Along with the applications, the operators are required to submit an amount called ‘Earnest Money Deposit’ which qualifies them to place bids for airwaves in the auction. The higher the EMD the more eligibility points an operator gets to bid for the spectrum. An operator can bid for spectrum worth 6 to 7 times the amount of the EMD.
As per a report by ET Telecom Reliance Jio has deposited the highest EMD to the tune of Rs. 9000 crore which qualifies it to place bids for spectrum in all bands, it can even pick one block across all bands on a Pan India scale at base price. This EMD will enable Jio to buy spectrum worth up to Rs. 66,000 crore in the auction. Jio will most probably want to renew its 850 MHz spectrum which is expiring later this year and add more spectrum in the band, it will also look to add more capacity spectrum in the 1800 and 2300 MHz bands. It is unclear whether Jio will want to enter a new band apart from the 3 it currently operates in.
Bharti Airtel has submitted an EMD of Rs. 3000 crore which makes it eligible for bidding for spectrum up to Rs. 25,000 crore. Airtel will look to fill the gaps in its sub GHz spectrum portfolio and add some spectrum in the 1800 MHz 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz band for capacity. Vodafone Idea on the other hand has submitted a paltry EMD of Rs. 500 crore which will enable it to bid for only up to Rs. 3500 crore worth of spectrum. Vi will look to just renew some of its expiring 2G spectrum without adding any new one.
It is clear from the EMD amounts that Jio will be the most aggressive participant in the upcoming auction and Airtel will have a balanced approach while Vi will be a fringe player with limited impact on the bidding process. It remains to be seen whether the 700 MHz band finds any takers this time or meets the same fate it did in the 2016 auction.