India's Second 5G Spectrum Auction Concludes, Government Collects Rs 11,300 Crore

India's Second 5G Spectrum Auction Concludes, Government Collects Rs 11,300 Crore

New Delhi - India's second 5G spectrum auction concluded around Wednesday noon after seven rounds, lasting just over a day. The government collected approximately Rs 11,300 crore from the auction, which saw active participation from major telecom operators.

Bharti Airtel is likely to have emerged as the largest bidder, acquiring airwaves in the efficient sub-GHz 900 MHz band, as well as in the 1800 and 2100 MHz bands. This strategic acquisition is expected to enhance Airtel's 5G network capabilities significantly.

Market leader Reliance Jio is believed to have secured 5G bandwidth in the 1800 MHz band, strengthening its position in the rapidly growing 5G market. Vodafone Idea (Vi), another key player, is thought to have acquired spectrum in the 900, 1800, and 2500 MHz bands, ensuring it remains competitive in the telecom sector.

Both Airtel and Vi have followed a strategic approach by purchasing spectrum in telecom circles where their existing permits are set to expire this year. This move is aimed at maintaining their service continuity and expanding their 5G offerings to a broader customer base.

In this year's auction, the government offered a total of 10.5 GHz of 5G airwaves, valued at Rs 96,238.45 crore at reserve prices. Despite the significant volume of airwaves on offer, the final revenue generated was notably lower than in previous auctions. The July 2022 5G auction had set a record with collections of Rs 1,50,173 crore, while the March 2021 4G auction had generated Rs 77,814 crore.

The lower revenue in this auction could be attributed to various factors, including the strategic bidding approach of the telecom operators and the specific bands of spectrum that were made available. Nonetheless, the auction marks a critical step in the ongoing expansion and enhancement of India's 5G infrastructure, which is expected to drive digital transformation and economic growth in the coming years.

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