5G spectrum auction today. Reliance Jio, Adani among bidders for airwaves

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All eyes are on the auction for the 5G spectrum which begins on Tuesday, generating immense curiosity about who will win the righs for 72 gigahertz of radiowaves worth 4.3 lakh crores on offer.

The bidding process will begin at 10 am and go on till 6 pm, PTI reported. Four players Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and a unit of billionaire Gautam Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprises are participating in the auction.

Here are the top 10 things to know about the 5G spectrum auction.

1. The telecom department is expecting anywhere between 70,000 crores to 1 lakh crore from the auctions. The number of days of auction will depend on the actual demand for the radiowaves.

2. 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.

3. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, it is expected, will lead the spends, followed by Bharti Airtel while analysts see limited participation from Vodafone Idea and Adani Group. Jio has made a 14,000 crore Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) while rival Adani group made a modest 100 crore deposit recently.

EMD itself is reflective of the quantity of airwaves a company can bid for in the auction.

4. The EMD of all the four applicants seeking 5G radiowaves this time adds up to 21,800 crore, a level substantially higher than 13,475 crore deposited in the 2021 auction when three players were in the race.

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5. According to information released by the department on July 18 as part of the list of pre-qualified bidders, Reliance Jio has submitted an EMD of 14,000 crore, the highest among the four players in fray for the spectrum. The EMD amount of Adani Data Networks stands at 100 crore, the amount itself indicating a muted and limited spectrum demand from its side.

6. Earlier this month, billionaire Gautam Adani’s group confirmed it would in the race to acquire spectrum, which it said would be used to create a private network to support its businesses from airports to power as well as data centres. Adani Group has made it clear that its intention is not to be in the consumer mobility space.

7. For the upcoming auction, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel is likely to restrict its bidding to 5G spectrum — 100MHz in 3.5GHz band and 500MHz in 26GHz band; may selectively add spectrum in 900MHz and 1800MHz bands in circles such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata among others, Bloomberg reported.

8. 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.

9. India has also allowed firms to pay in 20 equal instalments with no upfront payment as it tries to catch up with other countries, such as South Korea and China, that have had 5G networks for years, Bloomberg reported.

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

(With PTI, Bloomberg inputs)




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