5G Spectrum Auctions in India Begins: Jio, Vi, Airtel, Adani Participate

The 5G auction sale will end at 6 pm, but might extend based on the demand.


The much-awaited 5G auction is being held in India today where big names like Reliance Jio, Adani Group, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea are taking part in the online 5G spectrum auction. After all the talks and postponing of the auction over the last couple of years, the auction started today at 10 AM.

The battle for the 5th gen mobile network has also attracted a couple of India’s richest tycoons and billionaires Mukesh Ambani (Jio) and Gautam Adani (Adani Group/Adani Data Networks). The 5G auction for the 72GHz radio waves across 10 bands is estimated to be worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore and as expected the auction witnessed bids from telecom majors.

Update (July 26, 6 PM): Day 1 of the 5G auction has ended and the first day saw bidding from Jio, Airtel, Vi, and Adani group. The fifth round of auctions will continue on July 27. 

5G Spectrum Auction in India: Details

The Union Cabinet recently gave a go-ahead to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the 5G auction in India. With the online bidding, which started today, the spectrum will be assigned to the bidders through which 5G services will be provided to enterprises as well as end consumers. Based on the previous reports, 5G in India will be fully operational by March 2023, which is less than a year.

Based on a report from Economic Times, Reliance Jio is expected to come out on top followed by Bharti Airtel and then Vodafone Idea (Vi) is expected to go for limited airwaves and likely in its 17 priority markets. The new entrant, Adani is expected to purchase only a little of spectrum for its captive network in some cities. Here is what the action has to offer:

  • Low-band airwaves 一 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz
  • Mid-band/ C-band 一 3.3-3.67 GHz
  • High band 一 26 GHz

The government had also removed the spectrum usage charges (SUC) fro the 5G auction along with easing payment terms to spur bidding. All in all, it looks like there are only two major bidders as of now 一 Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, with little interest from Vi and Adani Group.

The 5G auction is in progress, stay tuned for more updates.