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MIB sets the ball rolling for FM Phase III; issues auction details

MUMBAI: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has finally set the ball rolling for the FM radio Phase III auctions by issuing an information memorandum for e-auctions of the first batch of private FM radio Phase III channels.

For e-auction of 135 channels in 69 existing cities of Phase II in the first batch and migration (renewal) of radio licences from Phase II to Phase III, the memorandum contains the rules and timetable applicable to the auction.

The memorandum provides a tentative timeline for the auctions with the pre-bid conference happening on 28 January, the publication of the NIA in the second week of February. The pre-qualification of bidders is stated to happen around 20 March, which will be followed by a mock auction for two days and the start of the auction a day after that. The process is slated to be completed by 31 March.

The MIB released details on the reserve price and frequency in each of the 69 cities. Among the Category A+ cities comprising Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, the metro of Mumbai has the highest reserve fee of Rs 35.2 crore per channel with the highest number of two frequencies on auction.

Meanwhile, in Category A cities, Bangalore with one frequency available has the highest reserve price of Rs 21.6 crore, while the maximum number of four frequencies will be available in Hyderabad for a fee of Rs 18 crore.

In Category B cities, Cochin has just one frequency for auction with the highest reserve price of Rs 10.1 crore, while the highest number of three frequencies will be available in Patna, with a fee of Rs 5.1 crore.

In Category C cities, Chandigarh has two frequencies and the highest fee of Rs 15.6 crore. In Category D Karnal has the highest reserve price of Rs 90 lakh with one available frequency.

The city-wise frequency list saw available frequencies (in MHZ) in Mumbai to be 91.9 and 106.4. Chennai had 104 MHZ, which is currently occupied by Fever FM in other cities, while Bangalore had 104.8 MHZ available, currently occupied by Oye FM in cities where it exists.

The Ministry has also informed that it would separately issue a notice inviting applications (NIA) for participation in the auction which would be definitive and would take precedence. The applicants will pay a non-refundable application processing fee of Rs 25,000 payable to the Pay and Accounts Officer of the MIB through a demand draft.

Following the scrutiny of the applications, the government will put up a list of qualified bidders. At the same time, qualified bidders will be issued the ‘Bidder Participation Notice’. The notice will include each qualified bidder’s initial eligibility points, a user manual providing information on how to access the Electronic Auction System (EAS). The authorised nominated person will be sent the URL of the auction website, a login id, password, email address and phone number for the reporting of technical problems.

As per the memorandum, the participants must maintain confidentiality and bidders shall not be permitted to disclose the status of their participation, including whether they continue to bid in any or all cities, in any of the auctions, until the completion of the relevant auction.

The bids made in the auction shall be valid for a period of one year from the date when the bids were made. FM channels available for award in this process will be allocated by Simultaneous Multiple Round Ascending (SMRA) e-auction.

Awarding of FM channels will be done through a two-stage process—a ‘Channel Allocation Stage’, wherein each city bidder will bid for a number of channels only without linkage to any specific frequency. The auctions will consist of a number of ‘Clock Rounds’ which will stop when in every city the number of bids at the prices set in the last completed Clock Round is less than or equal to the number of channels available; and there are no opportunities for bidders to increase their demand allowed by the activity rules. This will establish a common winning price for all channels within a city, and the winning bidders for channel(s) in a particular city.

Winning bidders will pay the sum of the auction determined by winning prices for the cities in which they were assigned a channel. All winning bidders in a city will pay an equal winning price.

The second stage will be the ‘Frequency Allocation Stage’ which will allocate specific frequencies to the winning bidders in a city. During this stage, the winning bidders will be allowed to only select the FM frequency for the winning channel(s) among the frequencies available in the respective city. Frequency selection preference would be based on the rank of the bidder in a particular city.

The MIB has also put a cap on the overall stations that can be assigned to a bidder. It states that no entity shall hold permission for over 15 per cent of all channels allotted in the country excluding channels in the cities located in Jammu & Kashmir, North Eastern states and island territories. The cap would be applied at the time of allocation of the FM channels in each Clock Round.

In the first Clock Round, the Clock Round price for each FM channel in a city will be set equal to the reserve price. For subsequent rounds, the Clock Round price in each city will be set depending on excess demand in the previous completed Clock Round in that city.

The excess demand in a city will be determined by the total number of channels for which the bids have been submitted in that city in the last 45 completed Clock Rounds. This will be with respect to the total number of channels put up for auction in that city at a Clock Round price in the last completed clock round. Bidders are required to submit their bid for at least one city in the first Clock Round, failing which they will forfeit the deposit entirely.

Clock Rounds will generally only be scheduled to begin between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm from Monday to Friday, except Gazetted holidays. Each round will be of minimum 60 minutes in duration and all bidders will be notified at least 15 minutes prior to the commencement of the round.

S. No.Name of CityStateRegionReserve PriceNo. of
Frequencies in

Category “A+”4
1ChennaiTamil naduS12,27,00,0001104
3MumbaiMaharashtraW35,20,01,004291.9, 106.4
Category “A”19
6HyderabadTelanganaS18,00,00,000491.9, 94.3, 104, 104.8
8KanpurUttar PradeshN8,00,55,000391.9, 94.3,107.2
9LucknowUttar PradeshN14,00,55,0003104,104.8, 106.4
10NagpurMaharashtraW5,10,00,000291.9, 92.7
11PuneMaharashtraW14,00,55,000291.9, 92.7
12SuratGujaratW3,60,00,000291.9, 104
Category "B"17
13Amritsar *PunjabN3,00,00,000193.5
14Agra *Uttar PradeshN2,56,00,0502104, 104.8
15Allahabad *Uttar PradeshN2,10,00,000294.3, 104
16AsansolWest BengalE1,94,05,000291.9 94.3
19MaduraiTamil NaduS6,30,00,000191.9
20PatnaBiharE5,13,00,000391.9, 92.7, 94.3
22Varanasi *Uttar PradeshN2,10,00,0001104.8
23VijayawadaAndhra PradeshS7,00,20,000291.9, 94.3
Category “C”85
24Ahmednagar*MaharashtraW37,60,0002104, 105.6
25Ajmer *RajasthanN76,00,000291.9, 104.8
26Akola*MaharashtraW29,59,000391.9, 92.7, 93.5
27AligarhUttar PradeshN31,00,000393.7, 94.5, 104.2
28AurangabadMaharashtraW2,99,00,000295, 107.2
29BareilyUttar PradeshN31,00,000298.3, 104.8
31BikanerRajasthanN31,00,000391.9, 93.5, 94.3
32Bilaspur*ChhatisgarhW32,15,000391.9, 92.7, 93.5
33ChandigarhChandigarh/UTN15,61,00,590291.9, 93.5
34DhuleMaharashtraW46,59,000391.9, 92.7, 93.5
35GorakhpurUttar PradeshN31,00,000392.7, 93.5, 94.3
36Gulbarga *KarnatakaS1,50,05,000391.9, 94.3, 98.3
37Guwahati *AssamE37,80,0901WPC to confirm
38Jalgaon*MaharashtraW36,59,000294.3, 98.3
39JammuJ&KN1,01,07,090391.9, 98.3, 104
40JhansiUttar PradeshN31,00,000398.3, 104, 104.8
41Jodhpur *RajasthanN1,27,00,000193.5
42KolhapurMaharashtraW3,51,00,000291.9, 92.7
44KozhikodeKeralaS7,02,00,1002104.8, 106, 106.8, 107.6
45Mangalore *KarnatakaS2,75,10,000191.9
46MuzzaffarpurBiharE15,10,000393.5, 104, 104.8
47MysoreKarnatakaS3,21,30,9902104, 107.2
48Nanded*MaharashtraW29,59,000391.1, 92.7, 93.5
49NasikMaharashtraW3,51,00,000291.9, 92.7
50Patiala *PunjabN1,10,00,000198.3
52Rajamumdry*Andhra PradeshS1,50,00,5003104, 104.8, 105.6
53RourkelaOrissaE26,55,000292.7, 104
54SangliMaharashtraW46,59,0002106.4, 107.2
55SholapurMaharashtraW66,59,0002104, 104.8
56Siliguri *West BengalE65,00,5011WPC to confirm
57SrinagarJ&KN61,20,090393.5, 94.3, 104.8
58TiruchyTamil NaduS5,00,00,500295, 107.2
59Tirunelveli*Tamil NaduS1,26,00,000291.9, 104
60TirupatiAndhra PradeshS4,50,50,000294.5, 105.8
61Tuticorin*Tamil NaduS1,50,00,500292.7, 94.3
63Warangal*TelanganaS1,25,25,000392.1, 94.5, 104.2
Category “D”10
64AgartalaTripuraE16,20,000292.7, 93.5, 94.3
65AizwalMizoramE12,07,000292.7, 93.5
66Hissar *HaryanaN61,10,0001104.2
67ItanagarArunchal PradeshE13,03,000292.7, 93.5
69Shillong *MeghalayaE18,07,0002104.8, 106.4*
WPC to confirm

*License revoked in FM Phase-II