NEW DELHI: The telecom industry is gearing up to usher in 5G telephony as spectrum auctions are set to begin from Tuesday. Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and newcomer Adani Data Networks will look to buy airwaves that would see the highspeed networks being rolled out over 6-12 months.
The government has put up a total of 72GHz (gigahertz) of spectrum on sale, worth at least Rs 4. 3 lakh crore at reserve price, though the market does not expect a high-pitched battle and heavy buying due to abundance of airwaves on sale.
Mukesh Ambani’s Jio is surely the biggest buyer with an earnest money deposit (EMD) of Rs 14,000 crore. Newcomer Adani Group has ruled out an immediate entry into the consumer mobility space and has EMD commitment of only Rs 100 crore.
Analysts expect the auctions to last for a few days, considering the large amount of spectrum for sale, and said demand will be there for the 5G bands, apart from efficient sub-gigahertz spectrum that will be used for 4G capacity augmentation.
“We expect the government’s proceeds from the sale at around Rs 80,000 crore, which will be used by companies to build 5G network capacities and strengthen current networks,” Peeyush Vaish, telecom practice partner at Deloitte India, told TOI.
He said 5G services are likely to begin over next few months, but these would be launched in metros and bigger towns first and carry a premium of around 20% to current tariffs. “The companies have been preparing, and are already in the process of setting up network.”
The bid document said direct allocation of spectrum to tech companies will follow a demand study, and added that regulator Trai will give recommendations on aspects, such as pricing and modalities of allocation.