5G spectrum auction ends with records bids of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore; Jio top bidder

Bharti Airtel is second biggest; Gautam Adani’s group bids for less than 1 per cent of all spectrum sold

FPJ BureauUpdated: Monday, August 01, 2022, 11:26 PM IST
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Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw | Photo: ANI

New Delhi: India’s first fifth-generation (5G) spectrum auction concluded on Monday with airwaves worth a record Rs 1.5 trillion sold through a seven-day bidding process. Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that he sees industry investing Rs 2-3 lakh crore in two years as reforms by the government have removed uncertainty and risks, and provided a stable investment regime.

Buoyed by the results, Vaishnaw said he expects investments to be infused into both fourth and fifth generation technologies, for providing better voice quality and high-speed data.

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has cornered nearly half of all the airwaves sold with Rs 88,078 crore bids. Richest Indian Gautam Adani’s group, whose entry in the auction was billed by some as another flash point in the competition with Jio Infocomm, paid Rs 212 crore for 400 MHz quantum or less than 1 per cent of all spectrum sold, in a band that is not used for offering public telephony services.

Telecom tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Bharti Airtel made a successful bid of Rs 43,084 crore, while Vodafone Idea Ltd bought spectrum for Rs 18,799 crore.

“I have met telecom sector investors, and they are feeling quite comfortable at this time... most of the risks that were there…, have been removed today,” Vaishnaw said.

Meanwhile, 5G services are likely to be launched in India by October, while the allocation of the spectrum to successful bidders would be done by August 10.

“The ongoing 5G spectrum auction indicates that the country’s telecom industry has come a long way in 5G advancements,” Vaishnaw said, adding that better availability of spectrum will improve the quality of telecom services in the country.

Bharti Airtel, which made bids to acquire 19867.8 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands, is the second biggest bidder in the auction.

“Airtel is delighted with the results. This spectrum acquisition at the latest auction has been a part of a deliberate strategy to buy the best spectrum assets at a substantially lower relative cost compared to our competition,” Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Bharti Airtel, said in a statement.

“This will allow us to raise the bar on innovation and address the emerging needs of every discerning customer who demands the best experience in India. We are confident that we will be able to deliver the best 5G experience in India in terms of coverage, speeds and latency,” he said.

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