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Govt receives bids worth Rs 1.45 lakh crore from telecom giants on first day of 5G spectrum auction

Communications, Electronics and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

India's largest ever auction of 5G spectrum saw bids worth Rs 1.45 lakh crore being submitted from established telecom players such as Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal's Bharti Airtel, and Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Vodafone-Idea as well as new entrant Adani group firm.

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters that there was “strong  participation” by the four bidders which shows that the telecom industry has turned around from its difficult times.

The auction of 5G spectrum, that offers ultra-high speeds (about 10 times faster than 4G), lag-free connectivity, and can enable billions of connected devices to share data in real-time will be allocated by August 14, the minister said.

The government, he said, will allocate the spectrum in record time and 5G services are expected to start rolling out by September.

It will not be known until the close of the bidding process which company bagged how much of airwaves.

Four rounds of bidding were held on the opening day, with mid and high-end bands seeing keen interest. The 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands attracted strong bids.

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 is being held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz) and high (26 GHz) frequency