India’s biggest 5G spectrum auction starts today and four local companies will be in the race to bid for the country’s first 5G spectrum ahead of a planned rollout in 2023. Bidders include all the three major mobile operators in India: Reliance Jio, the market leader, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. The fourth contender is Indian billionaire Gautam Adani.
India’s Biggest 5G Spectrum Auction Starts- Who will Win?
5G refers to the fifth generation of high-speed mobile internet which promises super-fast download speeds that can support technologies like driverless cars and virtual reality. A total of 72 gigahertz of 5G spectrum will be on the block, for which winning bids will retain the rights for 20 years.
In total, the four bidders have put up $2.7 billion (218 billion Indian rupees) in earnest money, the mandatory sum required to confirm a contract. The amount of earnest money deposited provides an indication of the amount of spectrum a company wishes to buy.
The auction will see aggressive bidding by Reliance Industries’ Jio, which has deposited 140 billion rupees of the earnest money. Which is also the largest amount among the contestants. On the other hand, Bharti Airtel puts 55 billion rupees and Vodafone Idea deposited 22 billion rupees of earnest money.
It seems like Jio could lead the spending, followed by Bharti Airtel while analysts see limited participation from Vodafone Idea and Adani Group. Previously, Adani has clarified that the airwaves it was seeking was to set up a private network to help digitise its businesses from airports to energy to data centres.
According to the latest report, the number of 5G subscribers in India will grow to 500 million by 2027. The bidding started at 10 am and will continue till 6 pm. It will carry over into the next day if there is a demand for spectrum and bidders are putting in bids.