Telecom stocks today fell up to 3 per cent amid fears of heightened competition in the mobile spectrum auction. Shares of Bharti Airtel fell by 2.92 per cent, while Idea Cellular was down by 2.16 per cent on the BSE.
Reliance Communications also lost 2.19 per cent. The third round of telecom spectrum auction opened today with bids pouring in for all 22 circles or zones in the 1,800 MHz band and for three zones in 900 MHz band.
"Till now, four rounds of bidding have been completed. Bids have been received in all 22 service areas in 1800 MHz band and in all three service areas in 900 MHz band. Thus, bidding has taken place in all the service areas in both bands," an official statement said.
Eight telecom firms, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Reliance Jio Infocomm, are in the fray in the auction from which the government expects to garner at least Rs 11,300 crore in the current financial year.
The government is conducting this third round of spectrum auction following a Supreme Court order in the 2G case directing that all radiowaves freed from the cancellation of 122 licences in February 2012 should be auctioned.
Besides, the 900 Mhz has to be auctioned as some of the radiowaves in this band are held under old telecom licences, which will start expiring from November 2014.