As reported back in mid-June, the 5G spectrum auction has begun in India today with Reliance Jio, Adani Group, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea taking part. The auction started today at 10 AM and will likely end at 6 PM, but might extend based on the demand. A total of 72097.85 MHz of spectrum has been put to auction with a validity period of 20 years.
India’s richest tycoons and billionaires namely Mukesh Ambani (Jio) and Gautam Adani (Adani Group/Adani Data Networks) are taking part in the auction. The 5G auction for the 72GHz radio waves across 10 bands is estimated to be worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore. Based on the previous reports, 5G in India is set to rollout by March 2023.
An Economic Times report suggests that Jio will be leading the auction with spends ranging between $6-11 billion (Rs 48,000 crore to Rs 87,800 crore) followed by Bharti at $5-6 billion (Rs 40,000 crore to Rs 48,000 crore), with limited spends from Vodafone Idea and Adani Group. The auction is offering the following air waves:
- Low-band airwaves 一 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz
- Mid-band/ C-band 一 3.3-3.67 GHz
- High band 一 26 GHz
As confirmed back in June, there won’t be any compulsion to make upfront spectrum bid payments by the successful bidders. Payments for spectrum can be made in 20 equal annual instalments to be paid in advance at the beginning of each year. This, according to the government, is expected to significantly ease cash flow requirements and lower the cost of doing business in this sector. The bidders would be given an option to surrender the spectrum after 10 years with no future liabilities with respect to balance instalments.