India received $18 billion in bids on the first day of auction for 5G airwaves from tycoons including Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani, as the race for faster data began in the world’s second-largest internet market.
Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav told reporters on Tuesday evening that the bids “exceeded our expectations” and “looked like it”. [the bidding level] Will be at the same level ”on Wednesday.
India expects the rollout of 5G network to start from September. “By the end of the year, residents of many Indian cities will be able to experience 5G,” he said.
He said the government expects to generate record revenue from the auction – the allocation of which the government plans to complete before August 15 – though he declined to share any figures. The auction and details of the top bidders are expected to be clear tomorrow, when the auction is expected to be completed.
Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm, which counts Google and Meta among its backers, has long expressed excitement about the 5G upgrade. The top Indian telecom operator, which launched five years ago, has said for years that its infrastructure is already 5G-enabled.
Adani’s interest in the 5G bid has been surprising. Asia’s richest man has raised his fortunes in recent quarters by leveraging his infrastructure empire. Adani Enterprises is India’s largest coal trader.
The company, however, clarified that it is participating in the spectrum auction to provide private network solutions with enhanced cyber security “in airports, ports and logistics, power generation, transmission, distribution and various manufacturing operations”.
Apart from Adani and Ambani, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are also in the race for bidding, the Telecom Ministry said on Tuesday. Telecoms are eyeing 5G airwaves to boost their revenue as they expect data consumption to increase.
India is offering to sell 72 GHz airwaves in various frequency bands ranging from 600 MHz to 26 GHz for a tenure of 20 years.
Ericsson said in a report last month that 4G is currently the dominant subscription type driving connectivity growth in India, but “5G subscriptions are expected to reach around 50 million by the end of 2023.”
“5G will represent approximately 39 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region by the end of 2027, with about 500 million subscriptions. As subscribers migrate to 5G, 4G subscriptions are projected to drop annually to an estimated 700 million subscriptions in 2027. ,