5G Spectrum Mega Auction Begins; Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel Among 4 Telcos In Fray

5G Spectrum AAuctioning: The auction will be 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.

By Talibuddin Khan
Updated: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 10:34 AM IST
Minute Read
5G Spectrum Mega Auction Begins; Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel Among 4 Telcos In Fray
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Amid the tussle over captive private 5G networks, the mega auction for the 5G Spectrum began today with four players, including Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, set to bid for 72 GHz of radiowaves worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore on offer. The bidding process started at 10 am and will go on till 6 pm. The number of days of the auction will depend on the actual demand for radiowaves and the strategy of individual bidders.

The four big players in the race -- Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Adani group -- having submitted a combined Rs 21,400 core in earnest money deposit (EMD), are ready with their war chests and strategies for the mega bid, that is likely to be around Rs 1.5 lakh crore and would ring in new-age offerings and business models, and enable ultra-high speeds -- about 10 times faster than 4G.

At the reserve prices for the various bands, 72 GHz of radiowaves would be worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore. The auction will be 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.

The telcos are allowed to surrender spectrum that will be auctioned after a minimum period of 10 years from the date of acquisition. Last month, in a big relief to telecom companies, the DoT scrapped the 3 per cent floor rate on spectrum usage charge (SUC).

Reliance Jio Infocomm has submitted an EMD of Rs 14,000 while Bharti Airtel has put in Rs 5,500 crore. The EMD amount of Adani Data Networks stands at Rs 100 crore, while for Vodafone Idea the amount stands at Rs 2,200 crore. Telcos have the ability to go after radiowaves worth up to 7-8 times the EMD amounts submitted by them, although players do tend to keep headroom for manoeuvring and flexibility, based on how auction proceeds and the strategy adopted by rivals.

Jio, it is expected, will lead the spending, followed by Bharti Airtel while analysts see limited participation from Vodafone Idea and Adani Group. Market watchers do not anticipate intense or aggressive bidding given the abundance of the spectrum and only four participants being in the race.

While EMD suggests that Jio, the nation's largest telecom company by subscribers, may be bidding very aggressively in the upcoming auctions, Adani Group may be looking to buy the bare minimum spectrum needed to set up a private network. Typically, EMD amounts give an indication of the players' appetite, strategy and plan for picking up spectrum in an auction. It also determines the eligibility points, through which telcos target specific amounts of spectrum in various circles.

 

(With Agencies Inputs)

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