Four Days And Counting: India's Biggest Spectrum Auction Moves Along For 5G Airwaves

by Ujjawal Mishra - Jul 29, 2022 07:23 PM +05:30 IST
Four Days And Counting: India's Biggest Spectrum Auction Moves Along For 5G Airwaves5G telecom

Four successive days of the 5G spectrum auction have attracted strong interest from bidders, with the government receiving bids worth Rs 1.49 lakh crore... and counting, as the action heads into another day.

Spectrum up for grabs: The auction is being held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz), and high (26 GHz) frequency bands.

  • A total of 72 GHz of radio waves, worth at least Rs 4.3 lakh crore, is on the block.

  • On the maiden day of the auction, the crucial 700 MHz band saw bidding for the first time.

  • Meanwhile, the mid-band (3.3-3.67 GHz) and high-band (26 GHz) airwaves attracted strong interest.

  • Based on the auction results, the government will allocate the spectrum by 14 August.

  • 5G services are expected to be rolled out starting September.

The bidders included the three largest telecom service providers in India along with a new entrant — the Adani Group.

The big three were Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal's Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone-Idea.

Prolonged auction: The auction was expected to be over within two days, but now action is guaranteed for at least five days.

  • Sixteen rounds of bidding stretched out over three days, with another seven held on the fourth day (today, 29 July).

  • The high interest for spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band in Uttar Pradesh East circle saw Jio and Airtel locked in intense bidding over 27 and 28 July, thus sustaining the tempo.

  • The auction is heading into day five on 30 July.

Record revenue collection: Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on 26 July said the revenue collection of Rs 1.45 lakh crore on the first day of the auction is a new record.

  • The previous record was Rs 1.09 lakh crore revenue collection in 2015 spectrum auctions.

  • "This much response for 5G clearly shows that the industry has turned from its difficult times, which were caused by lots and lots of litigation and other things," Vaishnaw said.

  • Since the first day of the auction, revenue collection has gone up by Rs 4,600 crore.

What makes 5G special: 5G spectrum offers ultra-high speeds (about 10 times faster than 4G), lag-free connectivity, and can enable billions of connected devices to share data in real-time. Its utility goes even further:

  • Powering ultra-low latency connections

  • Downloading full-length high-quality video or movie to a mobile device in a matter of seconds

  • Enabling solutions such as e-health, connected vehicles, more immersive augmented reality and metaverse experiences

  • Life-saving use cases

  • Advanced mobile cloud gaming

What next: The government has received bids worth Rs 1,49,855 crore after 23 rounds. The spectrum auction resumes on 30 July.

Bottom line: Deployment of 5G spectrum will be a major step towards the digital empowerment of every Indian and will make both business and governance more efficient.

Ujjawal Mishra is a Staff Writer at Swarajya. He tweets @Ujjawal1Mishra.
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