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5G Spectrum auction: Top telecom players make bids worth over Rs 1.45 lakh crore

Reliance Jio

The 5g spectrum auctions have commenced in India with the government netting a record Rs 1.45 lakh crore on the first day on Tuesday. The opening day of the biggest telecom auction saw bids from the country’s top telecom players Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, along with India’s richest man Gautam Adani, buying spectrum for 5G airwaves worth more a trillion.

A total of 72,097.85 MHz (or 72 GHz) of spectrum worth about ₹4.3 lakh crore has been put on sale wherein all the four applicants — Ambani’s Reliance Jio, Mittal’s Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and an Adani group firm “actively” participated. The 5G spectrum that hopefully will be available offers ultra-high speeds (about 10 times faster than 4G), lag-free connectivity, and can enable billions of connected devices to share data in real-time.

Communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters that a spectrum worth over Rs 1.45 trillion had been bought on day one of the auction and has exceeded all expectations, calling the bidding “active’’ and participation “strong’’. The government is hoping to complete spectrum allocation by August 15 and expects to roll out 5G services in many cities by 2022-end, Mr. Vaishnaw said.

Back in 2015, at the time of the sale of 4G airwaves, the government raised Rs 1.09 lakh crore from the sale of 4G airwaves. According to reports, Jio’s estimated auction spend is likely to exceed Rs 70,000 crore while Airtel’s spend could be in the Rs 45,000-50,000 crore range. Vodafone Idea’s total spectrum outlay is estimated at around Rs 17,000-20,000 crore, and Adani’s is estimated at Rs 800 crore-1,000 crore.

In the ongoing auction for 5G Spectrum auction, the government has offered 72 GHz of airwaves for 20 years across 10 5G bands worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore at reserve prices. On offer are low-band airwaves (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz), mid-band or C-band (3.3-3.67 GHz), and high band (26 GHz).

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