The biggest spectrum auction ever held in India completed on Monday with bids totaling more than Rs 1.5 lakh crore, defying original predictions that it would take less than three days to complete. The auction procedure lasted seven days and 40 rounds. Reliance Jio was the only applicant (out of four) to have purchased spectrum in the exclusive 700 MHz band, making it the highest spender in the 5G spectrum auction, purchasing over half of all airwaves offered for more than Rs 88,000 crore.
Out of the whole 72 GHz that were up for grabs, 51.2 GHz were sold, or about 71 percent. Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Union Minister of Communications, said that the overall amount of spectrum auctioned was “good enough” to cover all of the country’s circles and predicted that 5G will have “excellent coverage” in the next two to three years. The estimated total first yearly instalment received by the government from the bidders is Rs 13,365 crore.
In addition to providing customers with fast data access, 5G has the potential to support a variety of enterprise-level applications, including more immersive augmented reality and metaverse experiences, linked cars, and machine-to-machine interactions.
According to experts’ estimates, Reliance Jio paid Rs 88,078 crore to purchase 24.7 GHz of spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz bands. Bharti Airtel, the second-largest telecom in the nation, spent Rs 43,084 crore to buy 19.8 GHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz bands. With a bid price of Rs 18,799 crore, Vodafone Idea won 6,228 MHz of airwaves in the 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2500 MHz, and 3300 MHz bands.
Adani Data Networks Limited, a subsidiary of the Adani Group and the fourth applicant to the auction amid a barrage of disruptions in the telecom industry, paid Rs 212 crore and only won spectrum in the 26 GHz band. Prior to the competition, the company made it clear that it was only competing to provide private network solutions for business verticals including airports, ports, power production, and logistics, and not to join the consumer mobility area.
The final total bids, which were estimated by the government to be about Rs 1 lakh crore, came in at Rs 1,50,173 crore, above projections.
Jio was the only applicant to get spectrum in the highly sought-after 700 Mhz band, which according to industry observers will give it a substantial advantage over its rivals in terms of 5G consumer adoption. In each of the 22 circles, the business has purchased 10 MHz of the spectrum. Bharti Airtel, its main rival, has not purchased any spectrum in the 700 MHz range.
In the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2,100 MHz bands, fierce bidding was particularly noticeable in the Assam, Jammu & Kashmir, and Northeast circles; Odisha and Uttar Pradesh (East); and Bihar, Haryana, Kerala, West Bengal, and Punjab circles.
Spectrum fees may be paid in 20 equal annual payments, with the first amount must be made in advance of each new year. After ten years, the winning bidders would have the opportunity to return the spectrum without incurring any further obligations for balance instalments.