FM radio auctions Current Affairs - 2019

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3rd phase e-auction of FM Radio fetch around Rs 395 cr on day 1

The third phase of e-auction of Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio has fetched around 395 crore rupees of the first day of auction.

In this phase, first batch of 135 channels of 69 cities which are part of the private FM Radio Phase III expansion were auctioned. In all 26 bidders were allowed to participate in the auction.

The bidding took place in 4 rounds on the first day and as many as 78 Channels spread over 54 cities provisionally had won the bidding. It fetched cumulative price of around 395 crore rupees against the aggregate reserve price of about 357 crore.

It should be noted that, the ongoing auction of III phase FM Radio Channels is a Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending (SMRA) e-auction. It was conducted online from Auction Control Room No. 404 B Wing, Shastri Bhawan in New Delhi.

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Union Cabinet gives nod to FM Phase 3 auction

Union Cabinet has given its nod for conducting FM Phase-III auction and renewal of Private FM Radio licenses from Phase-II to Phase-III in 69 existing cities for 135 channels.

It  was decided in Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Key facts of FM Phase-III auction

  • The Phase III will e-auction around 839 FM channels in 294 cities. It is expected to commence before the end of the present fiscal year. However, it will continue over the next three years.
  • It will be done according to recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on payment of migration fee.
  • Union Government already had appointed an e-auctioneer to monitor the e-auction.
  • Successful auctions of all proposed channels in Phase-III seeks to add an estimated revenue of over 550 crore to the National Exchequer.

Background

  • Earlier, the decision relating to Phase-III was taken by then Union Cabinet of UPA Government on 7 July 2011.
  • But it was delayed as channel auction was proposed on e-auction basis.
  • In March 2014, the Empowered Committee had decided to charge a fee for migration to existing operators who wanted to move to Phase-III.

In India, as of now two phases of Private FM Radio have been implemented. They are Phase-I (1999-2000) and Phase-II (2005-06). While, there are 243 private FM channels operating in 86 cities of the country, spanning 26 States and three Union Territories.

Thus, cabinet’s decision for auction is critical for the private radio industry since some of the licenses of the channels are expiring on 31 March, 2015.

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