5G spectrum auction to begin from Tuesday; Reliance Jio among 4 companies, Bharti Airtel in the fray


New Delhi, July 25

The auction of 5G spectrum will begin on Tuesday with four players, including Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, set to bid for 72 GHz radiowaves worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore.

The bidding process will start from 10 am on Tuesday and will continue till 6 pm.

DoT sources said the number of days for the auction would depend on the actual demand for radio waves and the strategy of individual bidders.

The department expects Rs 70,000 crore to Rs 1,00,000 crore from 5G auctions, which will add to the new-age offerings and business models, and enable ultra-high speed – almost 10 times faster than 4G.

Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and a unit of billionaire Gautam Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprises are all set to participate in the 5G auction. The industry expects the spectrum sale to be close to the reserve prices and the bidding will last for about two days.

The cost of 72 GHz radiowaves at the reserve price for different bands would be Rs 4.3 lakh crore.

The auction will be conducted 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.

Brokerage firm Jefferies said in a note last week, “Operators will bid for 5G networks, reduce SUC (spectrum usage charge) rates and increase existing spectrum bands, resulting in demand primarily for the 3.3 GHz/26GHz spectrum band.” Will be.”

It is expected that Jio will lead the spending followed by Bharti Airtel, while analysts see limited participation from Vodafone Idea and Adani Group.

Market watchers don’t expect intense or aggressive bidding given the abundance of spectrum and only four participants in the race.

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio has made an earnest deposit (EMD) of Rs 14,000 crore, while rival Adani Group has deposited a modest Rs 100 crore recently.

The EMD reflects the amount of airwaves bid by the bidding company in the auction.

While the EMD suggests that the country’s largest telecom company, by subscribers, may bid very aggressively in the upcoming auction, the Adani Group may want to buy the minimum spectrum required to set up a private network.

This time the EMD of all the four applicants seeking 5G radiowaves has gone up to Rs 21,800 crore, which is much higher than the Rs 13,475 crore deposited in the 2021 auction, when three players were in the race.

According to information released by the department on July 18 as part of the list of pre-qualified bidders, Reliance Jio has deposited an EMD of Rs 14,000 crore, the highest among the four players for spectrum.

Adani Data Networks has an EMD amount of Rs 100 crore, an amount indicating a muted and limited spectrum demand on its part.

Earlier this month, billionaire Gautam Adani’s group confirmed it would be in the race to acquire spectrum, which it said would be used to support its businesses from airports to power and data centers. To create a private network.

The Adani Group has made it clear that its intention is not in the consumer mobility sector.

For the upcoming auction, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel had put in Rs 5,500 crore as EMD, while for Vodafone Idea the amount stood at Rs 2,200 crore.

Usually, the EMD amount indicates the players’ appetite, strategy and plan to pick up spectrum in the auction. It also determines the eligibility points through which telcos target specific amounts of spectrum in different circles.

Telcos have the ability to go after radiowaves for up to 7-8 times the EMD amount deposited by them, although players have headroom for maneuver and flexibility depending on the auction process and the strategy adopted by the rivals.