5G AUCTION IN INDIA: FROM RELIANCE JIO TO BHARTI AIRTEL, WHO BOUGHT WHAT AND FOR HOW MUCH

The mega auction of India’s 5G spectrum ended on Monday after seven days of bidding. In these seven days, the total bids received were worth well over Rs 1.5 lakh crore, making it one of India’s most extensive spectrum auctions.

The Government of India had offered ten bands of India’s 5G spectrum. However, not all bands or airwaves were bid on. For example, no bids were received for the 600Mhz and 2300Mhz bands.

The auction was held for spectrum in various low-frequency bands, which included  600MHz, 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300Mhz, and one mid-frequency band of 3300MHz and one high-frequency band of 26GHz.

Most of the bids were for the 3300MHz and the 26GHz frequency bands. These bands received over two-thirds of the recommendations. The next band with the highest number of requests was the 700MHz frequency, which received over a quarter of all bids. Of the 72.098GHz spectrum offered, about 51.236GHz or 71 percent was sold.

In a statement addressed to the press after the conclusion of the auction, Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated, “We understand that the spectrum purchased is good enough to cover all the circles in the country. In 2-3 years, we will have excellent coverage for 5G across the country.” The minister also said 5G services could be launched as soon as October this year.

Reliance Jio was the top bidder.
Reliance Jio emerged as the top bidder in the auction, picking up airwaves across the 700MHz, 800MHz, 1800MHz, 3300MHZ, and 26GHz bands. Reliance Jio put up over Rs 88,078 crore for these bands. In total, Reliance Jio bought about 24.740GHz worth of airwaves.

Reliance Jio was followed by Bharti Airtel, which bought about 19.867GHz of airwaves across the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 3300MHz, and 26GHz bands, shelling out about Rs 43,084 crore.

Next was Vodafone Idea, which bid Rs 18,799 for about 6.228GHz of frequencies across 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2500MHz, 3300MHz, and 26GHz bands.

The Adani Group also bid on the 26GHz for setting up a private telecom network that they would be using within their organization.

What’s next for the bidders?
All four bidders have the option to make the payments in installments over 20 years. The duration of these entities’ right to use these spectrums is also 20 years.

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