5G auctions conclude; Services to roll out in next fiscal

The government mopped up a total of ₹1,50,173 crore (₹1501.73 Bn) through the auction that witnessed 40 rounds of bidding, spread over seven days, by four companies.

5G in India

With the government successfully concluding the 5G spectrum auction on 1 August 2022, the fifth-generation telecom services are likely to be rolled out in India by October.

The government mopped up a total of ₹1,50,173 crore (₹1501.73 Bn) through the auction that witnessed 40 rounds of bidding by four companies ­— Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Adani Data Networks ­— spread over seven days.

In a press briefing after the conclusion of the bidding, Ashwini Vaishnaw, union minister of communications, electronics and information technology said 51,236 MHz of spectrum, or around 71% of the total 72,098 MHz on offer, has been sold in the auction.

Reliance Jio Infocomm made bids worth ₹88,078 (₹880.78 Bn) crore to acquire 24,740 MHz spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz. Bharti Airtel made bids worth ₹43,084 (₹430.84 Bn) crore to acquire 19867.8 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands. Vodafone Idea made bids worth ₹18,799 crore (₹187.9 Bn) to acquire 6,228 MHz spectrum in 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz. Adani Data Networks made bids worth ₹212 crore (₹2.12 Bn) to acquire 400 MHz spectrum in 26 GHz frequency band.

As a fallout of the huge capex made by operators, industry experts expect a pricing hike.   

“Given the sizeable investments towards spectrum acquisition, we believe telcos will charge differential pricing for 5G services. Indeed, adoption of 5G services will hinge on the extent of premium over 4G tariffs. In a bid to ensure mass adoption of 5G, telcos may raise tariffs for 4G services, too, despite the two rounds of major tariff hikes effected in December 2019 and November 2021, respectively. We expect another tariff hike for 4G services in the second half of the current fiscal,” said Manish Gupta, Senior Director, CRISIL Ratings

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