Last Updated on Aug 4, 2022 by Anjali Chourasiya

India’s biggest and first-ever auction of airwaves concluded on 1 August 2022. 5G spectrum auction has generated revenues of over Rs. 1,50,173 cr., in which Reliance Jio is the most aggressive bidder. 

About the 5G spectrum auction

The much-awaited 5G spectrum auction finally commenced on 26 July 2022. A total of nine frequencies of the 5G spectrum (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz) were up for auction. 

Payments for the spectrum can be made in 20 equal annual instalments, which can be paid in advance at the beginning of each year. The process of the auction was online. 

Auction insights

The spectrum auction started on 26 July 2022, with about 72,000 MHz under nine bands up for sale. The validity period is 20 yrs. Initially, the government expected to earn Rs. 80,000 cr. to Rs. 90,000 cr. from the auction. 

The top bidders were Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and Gautam Adani’s Adani Data Networks. The intense bidding for 1,800 MHz airwaves in the key Uttar Pradesh (East) region was between the two telecom giants, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. The latest entrant Adani Data Networks has bid on the 26 GHz band to be used for its captive private networks.

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had earlier mentioned that the 5G auction underscored that the industry wants to expand and has entered a growth phase. He expected the rollout of 5G by October this year. 

Vaishnaw also mentioned that Jio is the only bidder to have acquired 700 MHz in all 22 circles. Cumulatively, Jio has acquired 24,740 MHz of the spectrum, amounting to Rs. 88,078 cr. Among the other bidders, Bharti Airtel took 19,867 MHz for a payable amount of Rs. 43,084 cr. Vodafone Idea emerged as the third largest bidder, acquiring spectrum worth Rs. 18, 799 cr.

The newly appointed Chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm, Akash Ambani, said, “We will celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ with a pan India 5G rollout. Jio is committed to offering world-class, affordable 5G and 5G-enabled services.”

Anjali Chourasiya