Quartet complete first day of bidding on 5G airwaves

27 Jul 2022

The first day of bidding in India’s 5G spectrum auction has ended with the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) recording bids worth a total of around INR1.45 trillion (USD18.17 billion). Four companies are competing for airwaves – namely privately-owned cellcos Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio), Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi), and transport and utility infrastructure firm Adani Group – and bidding saw high levels of demand for frequencies in the 26GHz and 3.5GHz bands. All bids so far have been at reserve price, however. Notably, the DoT reported that bids had been submitted for frequencies in the 700MHz band for the first time. Previous attempts to auction spectrum in that band proved unsuccessful due to the high price demanded by the government. Bidding has resumed and the DoT expects the process to be completed today (Wednesday 27 July). Specific details of the bidding by companies has not yet been disclosed, but the telecom minister was quoted as saying that participation from all four players was good, whilst it has been speculated that Jio filed the bids for pan-India 700MHz frequencies. The 600MHz band, which was made available for the first time in this auction, attracted no bids and nor was there interest in the 800MHz or 2300MHz frequencies on offer.