The third round of bidding for the Phase II expansion of FM Radio focused on the Eastern region, which saw Adlabs and South Asia FM standing neck to neck, with both grabbing 15 frequencies each out of the 66 frequencies up for bid in 17 cities. A total of 59 bids were received out of which 48 bids got qualified.
The government is expected to mop up revenues of over Rs 20.70 crore by way of One Time Entry Fee (OTEF) from Friday’s bidding. With this, a total of 165 frequencies have been allotted against 206 available frequencies.
Continuing its winning spree, Reliance-owned Adlabs bid in all the 17 cities, acquiring all except Patna and Siliguri. Not to be left behind, Sun-promoted South Asia FM also acquired 15 frequencies except Patna and Ranchi.
Bidding for Patna took a peculiar turn when ENIL (Radio Mirchi) outbid all other contestants with its bid of Rs 5.13 crore. Thus, the other four bidders in the fray, whose bids varied from Rs 36.5 lakh to Rs 1,26 crore, got disqualified as their bids didn’t amount to ‘one-fourth of the highest bidder’ provision, the minimum amount necessary for qualification in any city. ENIL did not bid in any city other than Patna, and is set to be a monopoly in the city.
However, informed sources said that this monopoly might not last for long as the government had definitive plans to invite tenders again in the cities where some frequencies remained vacant within three months of the end of the bidding process.
Speaking on the outcome of Friday’s bidding, Reliance Entertainment President, Rajesh Sawhney, said, “We won 15 frequencies for just Rs 4 crore. Our strategy has always been value-bidding. We have been bidding consistently according to the market potential and we are very happy with the results.”
Adlabs has been gung-ho about all parts of the country and at the end would keep only the high-potential maximum number of frequencies permitted. Adlabs has already won 41 frequencies in the first three rounds of bidding and is fast approaching the permitted ‘15 per cent of the total frequencies’ limit.
Without revealing whether Adlabs would be going for all the cities in the remaining two rounds of bidding in West and South zones, Sawhney said, “Even if we exceed the number of permitted frequencies, we are ready to keep it if the government allows it, or else we will make a choice.”
Among the other prominent names in Friday’s bidding process, New Delhi-based Positive Radio won four frequencies. BAG Infotainment, Bhubaneswar-based Eastern Media, Prabhat Khabar promoted Neutral Publishing, Jalpaiguri-based PCM Cement and Kolkata-based Chinar Circuit won two frequencies each.
The process for the remaining 132 frequencies in 40 B, C and D category cities in West and South regions of India would continue on January 27 and February 3, 2006.