5G Auction Ends: Spectrum Worth Rs 1.5 Lakh Crore Sold, Jio Takes Biggest Slice
Jio was the only participant to pick up spectrum from the premium 700 MHz band.
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A mega auction of 5G-capable mobile spectrum concluded on Monday, 1 August, after seven days and 40 rounds of bidding, with a total bid amount of Rs 1,50,173 crore.
Of the 72,098 MHz spectrum on the block, 51,236 MHz was sold, leaving about 29 percent of the spectrum unsold, telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.
Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel led the auction with bids worth Rs 80,078 crore and Rs 43,084 crore respectively, he noted. Vodafone Idea snapped up spectrum worth Rs 18,784 crore, while Adani Enterprises spent Rs 212 crore on a single band.
Here's how much spectrum each operator will walk away with:
Reliance Jio – 24,740 MHz in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands
Bharti Airtel – 19,867 MHz in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands
Vodafone-Idea – 6228 MHz in the 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands
Adani Data Networks – 400 MHz in the 26 GHz band
Airtel and Jio will likely roll out 5G connectivity pan-India, while Vodafone Idea will offer the service in select pockets. Adani Group has bought 26 MHz reportedly for setting up a private telecom network.
Record Amount in One Day
72 GHz of spectrum was put on auction from 26 July, with a validity of 20 years. The available frequency bands were 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 3,300 MHz, and 26 GHz.
While the first day bids exceeded expectations and surpassed 2015 records at Rs 1.45 lakh crore, the total bid amount only increased marginally to Rs 1.5 lakh crore in the next six days.
The amount is still significantly higher than previous auctions. 4G airwaves were sold last year for Rs 77,815 crore and 3G spectrum was sold in 2010 for Rs 50,968.37 crore.
Jio was the only participant to pick up spectrum from the premium 700 MHz band, with bids worth Rs 39,000 crore. No bids were received for the 600 MHz and 2300 MHz bands.
The 1800MHz band in Uttar Pradesh East circle, which includes Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, and Kanpur, was hotly contested. Aggressive bidding pushed the price up by about 60 percent.
With this auction, the government has taken the first concrete step towards rolling out 5G services in India, giving people access to ultra high-speed and low latency mobile internet.
It has also paved the way for companies to enter the 5G arena through captive networks, which will not be accessible to the general public.
Companies can now acquire or rent private spectrum to build and test industry 4.0 (technology focused) applications such as machine-to-machine communication, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence.
Vaishnaw had earlier said that he expected the rollout of 5G services to consumers by October this year.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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