5G auction day 2 roundup: Bids cross Rs 1.49 trillion, 5G services may launch in India in October

Jio and Airtel cancel entry for Chinese smartphone manufacturers from the rollout of 5G in India.

  • 5G auction in India on day 2 saw the government raise another Rs 4,000 crore.
  • The day two auction on Wednesday ended with a total sale of Rs 1.49 lakh crore worth of 5G spectrum.
  • Jio and Airtel have shut doors for Huawei and ZTE from the 5G rollout in India.  

Day two of India’s 5G network spectrum auction saw the government add another Rs 4,000 crore to its chest of Rs 1.45 lakh crore, which it already added from the day 1 sale, taking the total bid amount over a staggering Rs 1.49 trillion.

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On Wednesday, the auction ended with intense bidding in the mid-band (C-band) (3.3 – 3.67 GHz) and high band (26 GHz). The government expects the sale to close on day 3 – Thursday. As previously mentioned, the 5G services could debut by October, and the government will allocate the spectrum following the August 14th deadline.

Commenting on day two of the 5G auction, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters, “So far, at the end of the ninth round, we have grossed about Rs 1,49,454 crore (Rs 1.49 trillion). We have been able to successfully generate confidence in the industry.”

5G auction in India

5G auction day 2

At the end of the Wednesday bidding, Jio spent over Rs 82,500 crore, followed by Airtel with around 46,000 crore, and Vodafone Idea (vi) with around Rs 19,000 crore. Meanwhile, newcomer Adani Data Networks bid for around Rs 900-1,000 crore for the high band spectrum. According to analysts, Jio is the only telecom that bought the 700 GHz brand, which should give it a competitive edge over others in 5G service.

An industry executive stated (via) that bidding patterns showed a conflict between Jio and Airtel over the UP-East and Odisha circles in the 1800 MHz band. “There was excessive demand particularly in UP-East, which reflected in the aggressive bidding,” said the executive. UP East includes cities like Lucknow, Prayagraj, Varanasi and Gorakhpur.

Further, the two telecom giants engaged in a bidding war over mid-band airwaves in eight circles, including J&K, Northeast, Karnataka, Kerala, UP-West, Rajasthan, MP, and Himachal Pradesh. Another round of “fairly intense bidding” was witnessed for the 26 GHz spectrum band in Kerala, because it has historically been a solid market and the struggling Vodafone Idea was most likely the buyer, added the executive.

Communications minister Vaishnaw added, “In all those places, coverage is very important. To get good coverage, you need a lower band. We are confident that this will provide a very high quality of service to the far-flung areas of our country.” The rate was decreased by 40 percent for the the 700 MHz band. However, telecom tycoons claimed the band was expensive, and companies had not heavily purchased the 700 MHz band in the previous two auctions.

Telecom companies pick 5G gear partners

Jio and Airtel have picked their 5G gear partners by giving contracts to Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Ericsson, and Korea’s Samsung. They have cancelled entry (via) for Chinese smartphone manufacturers Huawei and ZTE from the rollouts of 5G in India.