5G rollout capex for Delhi, Mumbai estimated at Rs 187 bn: Report

The total capital expenditure required for 5G rollout is estimated to be Rs 187 billion (Rs 18,700 crore) for Delhi and Mumbai, as per a telecom report by Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

The report based on the TRAI's latest reserve price, the capex requirement for obtaining 100MHz mid band spectrum in Mumbai would be Rs 84 billion, which could increase if the bidding price is higher than the base price.

"Assuming 9k sites would be required for coverage with cost at INR 2 million per site, the total capex requirement for the sites would be INR 18b, taking the total capex to around INR 100b," the report said.

"Similarly, capex requirement for 5G rollout in Delhi would be INR 87b - assuming 100MHz mid band spectrum at base price (INR 69b)."

In terms of mid or low band spectrum, the overall capex requirement for pan-India coverage would stand at Rs 1.3 to Rs 2.3 trillion.

"The Indian telecom industry is seeing capex peak out (particularly for Bharti and RJio) and increased free cash flows (FCF). However, risks have started emerging due to the increased capex toward 5G technology upgrade and the upcoming spectrum renewal," it said.

As per the report, investments in three key large components for a 5G network - 'Spectrum, Sites and Fiber' on mid/low band spectrum with pan-India coverage - would stand at "INR 2.3t/INR 1.3t, which should reduce to INR 1.3t/INR 788b for coverage of only Metros and 'A' circles. With reduced coverage and INR 1.5m cost/site, this could reduce to INR 1.6t (mid-band) for pan-India coverage".

"Even assuming rollout starting from FY23E, a staggered deployment over the next 4-5 years (in line with 4G investment trend) could insulate the impact to a large extent," the report added.

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