India’s first-ever auction for 5G spectrum concluded today, with spectrum worth ₹1,50,173 crore being sold. Reports said billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio emerged as the top bidder to consolidate its leadership position.

Monday marked the seventh day of auction. The provisional figure for the sale proceeds is ₹1,50,173 crore and the final numbers are being tallied.

Reliance Industries’ Jio, rivals Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, as well as billionaire Gautam Adani’s Adani Enterprises Ltd were all among the bidders for 5G airwaves.

The mop-up from the 5G spectrum, capable of offering ultra-high speed mobile internet connectivity, is almost double at ₹77,815 crore worth 4G airwaves sold last year and triple of ₹50,968.37 crore garnered from a 3G auction in 2010.

Jio was the top bidder to the airwaves capable of offering speeds about 10 times faster than 4G, lag-free connectivity, and can enable billions of connected devices to share data in real-time. It was followed by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.

New entrant Adani group is said to have bought 26 Mhz spectrum for setting up a private telecom network.

Both Bharti and Jio have likely built a pan-India spectrum footprint for 5G, with Vodafone Idea’s selective participation.

In the last six days of auction of the 5G spectrum capable of offering ultra-high-speed internet, bids worth ₹1,50,130 crore have been received. Seven new rounds of bidding held on Sunday ‘dialled in’ an incremental ₹163 crore.

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had earlier said the 5G auction underscored that industry wants to expand and had entered a growth phase.

Vaishnaw expected the rollout of 5G – which government says can provide data speeds about 10 times faster than 4G – by October this year.

This year, about 72 GHz (gigahertz) of radiowaves worth at least ₹4.3 lakh crore was put on the block. The auction was held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz), mid (3300 MHz) and high (26 GHz) frequency bands.

In addition to powering ultra-low latency connections, which allow downloading full-length high-quality video or movie to a mobile device in a matter of seconds (even in crowded areas), Fifth Generation or 5G would enable solutions such as e-health, connected vehicles, more-immersive augmented reality and metaverse experiences, life-saving use cases, and advanced mobile cloud gaming among others.

The auction garnered bids worth ₹1.45 lakh crore on the first day on 26 July, with subsequent days seeing only marginal incremental demand in some circles.

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