New Delhi- India’s 5G spectrum auction received bids worth about Rs 1,49,855 crore as of Friday, the fourth day of sale, as continued interest for radiowaves stretched the bidding process to Saturday.

About 71 per cent of the total spectrum put on the block has been provisionally sold, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.

“This is a very good response,” Vaishnaw said.

Seven rounds of bidding took place and incrementally Rs 231.6 crore came in on Friday. In all, 23 rounds of bidding have been conducted so far.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and a unit of billionaire Gautam Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprises are in the race to bid for 5G spectrum, that offers speeds about 10 times faster than 4G, lag-free connectivity, and can enable billions of connected devices to share data in real-time.

After a flying start on Tuesday, that saw players pouring in Rs 1.45 lakh crore on Day 1, the numbers inched up incrementally over the days till Friday as Jio and Airtel engaged in intense bidding in UP East circle for 1800 MHz band.

Bids worth Rs 1,49,623 crore were received at the end of Thursday.

A total of 72 GHz (gigahertz) of radiowaves worth at least Rs 4.3 lakh crore were put on the block.

The auction is being 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.

Meanwhile, sources said the minister will also be holding a meeting with PE funds, VCs, investors, and banks in Mumbai on Saturday to understand their views and concerns, as also to discuss the growth path for the telecom sector.

The move comes at a time when the government is in the process of formulating a new legal framework for the sector, sources added.

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.  (PTI)


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