Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea to buy spectrum worth ₹71,000 crore in upcoming 5G auction, report reveals


The three private telecom operators — Trust JioBharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea — are expected to buy spectrum worth ₹71,000 crore in the upcoming auction, leaving a vast majority of radio waves going under the hammer unsold, according to research firm IIFL Effects† The government will next month auction about ₹4.3 lakh crore worth of ether capable of providing fifth-generation or 5G telecom services, including ultra-fast internet.

According to the report released Wednesday, the government’s nod of principle to allocate spectrum directly to enterprises will have a negative result on the mega auction.

“While the supply is plentiful, the government has not lowered the minimum prices proposed by TRAI, despite telcos claiming they were still high. We see telcos only bidding on 4 out of 10 bands and spectrum should be at base price. We estimate the spectrum expenditure of ₹37500 crore, Rs 25000 crore and ₹8500 crore for jioBharti and Vi,” IIFL said.

The research firm further said that if all telecom operators exercised the option of equal annual installments over 20 years, the government would receive Rs 6,200 in revenue in the current fiscal year.

It said telcos could give the premium 700MHz band spectrum a miss pending further reductions in the reserve price. Jio and Bharti can bolster their sub-1GHz holdings by bidding on the 850MHz and 900MHz bands respectively.

“We do not assume bids in the 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. Bids for 3.6 GHz are a bit difficult to predict,” it sounds.

The report went on to say that telcos could bid for small amounts in the 3.6GHz and 28GHz bands – seen as the main radio waves for 5G technology – as this could lead to major savings in spectrum usage costs.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has issued a new order that will enable telecom operators to proportionately reduce spectrum usage costs when purchasing new radio waves in the upcoming 5G auction.

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