Govt's 5G spectrum auction fetches Rs150,173 cr

Government’s 5G telecom spectrum sale has fetched Rs150,173 crore as the auction ended on Monday afternoon, after 40 rounds of bidding over seven days, the last round bringing in Rs43 crore to its kitty.

The bid amount is far higher than what the government had anticipated and the highest among the seven spectrum auctions since 2010. The range of spectrum on sale was also a record high, with the government fixing the base price at Rs4,30,000 for the sale of 72 GHz of spectrum.
While the final figures are still being tallied, billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio is reported to have bid the highest among all telecom operators, acquiring close to half of all the airwaves sold in the latest auction for Rs88,078 crore.
Jio acquired spectrum across several bands, including the coveted 700 MHz band that can provide 6-10 km of signal range and forms a good base for fifth generation (5G) in all 22 circles in the country.
This means that a single towner can cover more area using spectrum in the 700 Mhz band.
Bidders had kept away from buying the 700 Mhz spectrum in the earlier two auctions because of the high price tag. The spectrum is being sought globally as it is required for better 5G coverage.
Sunil Bharti Mittal's Bharti Airtel bought 19,867 MHz of airwave across different bands for Rs43,084 crore, while Vodafone Idea Ltd bought spectrum for Rs18,784 crore.
Reports citing telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the Adani group bought 400 MHz, or less than one per cent of all spectrum sold, for Rs212 crore. Adani group bought spectrum in the 26 GHz band, which is not for public networks.
In all, Rs150,173 crore of bids were received, Vaishnaw said. Of the 72,098 MHz of spectrum offered across 10 bands, 51,236 MHz, or 71 per cent, was sold.
The government, he said, will get a Rs 13,365 crore payment for the spectrum in the first year. He also said the 5G services could be launched by October.
The latest bid round also saw a bitter battle among the three telecom companies for 10.8 MHz of spectrum in the 1800 band in eastern Uttar Pradesh circle, which resulted in price soaring.
Jio, as the biggest bidder during the auctions, will emerge richer in airwaves helping it to roll out 4G and 5G services across the country.