Reliance Industries’ Jio emerged as the biggest spender in India’s $19 billion (about Rs 1.5 lakh crore) 5G spectrum auction, with top telco players winning airwaves worth $11 billion (about Rs 87,000 crore) as the world’s second largest player. emerged as a mobile The market for high-speed wireless networks is ready.
The Indian government aims to start the rollout of 5G by October this year – which it says can deliver data speeds up to about 10 times faster than 4G. Globally, next-generation networks are seen as critical to emerging technologies such as self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.
The country’s telecom minister said companies bought 71 per cent of the total 72 GHz spectrum offered in the auction, which concluded on Monday and saw participation from Jio rivals Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea as well as a unit of Adani Enterprises. Went.
Airtel and Vodafone bagged spectrum worth $5.4 billion (about Rs 43,000 crore) and $2.4 billion (about Rs 19,000 crore) respectively.
Referring to the geographical areas of coverage, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said at a press conference, “We understand that the spectrum purchased is sufficient to cover all the circles in the country.” He said India’s 5G coverage will be “very good” in the next three years.
Telecom companies bid aggressively despite earlier concerns that they could potentially lose around 40 percent of revenue if some airwaves were allocated to enterprises for private 5G networks.
Adani, the newest entrant in the auction process, bought airwaves for around $27 million (approximately Rs 215 crore). The firm does not plan to offer consumer services and is instead aiming to enter the private 5G network space.
To help the cash-strapped telecom sector, the government is allowing auction winners to pay the dues in 20 equal annual installments.
Airtel and Vodafone have been under pressure ever since Jio began a price war in 2016, both reporting losses in recent years, as well as reduced spectrum dues from earlier auctions. However, the recent hike in mobile data prices has helped Airtel come back in profit.
“This spectrum acquisition…is part of our well-thought-out strategy to acquire the best spectrum assets at a much lower relative cost than our competition,” Gopal Vittal, CEO, Airtel said in a statement.
Jio said it would be ready for a pan-India rollout of 5G “in the shortest possible time”, without giving any details.
© Thomson Reuters 2022