5G spectrum auction extends to third day

Bids worth Rs 1.49 lakh crore received on day 2

NEW DELHI: India’s first 5G auction received bids worth Rs 1.49 lakh crore on day two, as aggressive bidding across bands by players like Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel pushed the sale over to the third day.
As many as five rounds of bidding were conducted on Wednesday for the 5G spectrum, capable of offering lag-free connectivity and ultra-high-speed internet. Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that ‘good competition’ was seen in almost all bands on offer.
Vaishnaw expressed happiness at the response received for the 700 MHz band, which did not find any takers in the last two auctions held in 2016 and 2021. The coveted and expensive 700 MHz band is important for coverage of far-flung areas. “The sector is coming with new energy, and that is reflected in response to 5G auctions,” Vaishnaw told reporters.
Firms run by tycoons Mukesh Ambani, Sunil Bharti Mittal and Gautam Adani as well as Vodafone Idea had put in bids worth Rs 1.45 lakh crore on the opening day on Tuesday when four rounds were held, and the incremental demand for airwaves came in five rounds held on Wednesday.
Vaishnaw said the bidding will continue on Thursday. “I am happy to see good competition in the auction, good competition for almost all bands have come in,” he said, adding “bids worth Rs 1,49,454 crore have been received so far at the end of the 9th round.”
Analysts said Ambani’s Reliance Jio may be the most aggressive of those in the race. The minister said bands, such as 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz saw notable activity. As per the process, it will not be known until the auction concludes as to which company got how many airwaves. —PTI

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