5G Auction: Record Rs 1.5 lakh cr bids; Jio top bidder

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New Delhi: India's biggest ever auction of telecom spectrum received a record Rs 1.5 lakh crore of bids, with Mukesh Ambani's Jio cornering nearly half of all the airwaves sold with an Rs 88,078 crore bid.

Richest Indian Gautam Adani's group, whose entry in the auction was billed by some as another flashpoint in the rivalry with Ambani, paid Rs 212 crore for 400 MHz, or less than 1 per cent of all spectrum sold, in a band that is not used for offering public telephony services.

Telecom tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal's Bharti Airtel made a successful bid of Rs 43,084 crore, while Vodafone Idea Ltd bought spectrum for Rs 18,799 crore.

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said of the 72,098 MHz of spectrum offered across 10 bands, 51,236 MHz, or 71 per cent, was sold.

The auctions and spectrum top-up by companies will pave the way for better quality of services for consumers across the country, he added. The 5G services will be launched by October.

In all, bids worth Rs 1,50,173 crore were received, he said, adding the government will in the first year get Rs 13,365 crore.

Barring the 1800 MHz band, for which Jio and Airtel engaged in fierce bidding, spectrum in all bands was sold at the reserve (base) price, he noted.

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

Reliance Jio was the top bidder, offering a cumulative bid of Rs 88,078 crore for 24,740 MHz of airwaves across five bands capable of offering speeds about 10 times faster than 4G.

It acquired the coveted 700 MHz spectrum that can provide 6-10 km of signal range with one tower and forms a good base for offering fifth generation (5G) services, in all 22 circles or zones in the country.

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