India’s auction of mobile airwaves begins today

India’s auction for 5G spectrum services begins today. The Indian government is putting up 72GHz of mobile airwaves on sale—for

India mobile 5G

The Indian government is set to auction mobile airwaves today to expand 5G services in the country. | Photo: REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade/Files

India’s auction for 5G spectrum services begins today.

The Indian government is putting up 72GHz of mobile airwaves on sale—for a validity of 20 years—for service providers to bid on and use to provide new connections, in line with the international trend towards 5G connectivity. India’s cabinet approved the auction on June 15, 2022, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing the need for 5G to support greater digital governance and innovation. The Department of Telecommunications has approved four domestic bidders for the auction: Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and newcomer Adani Data Networks.

It is estimated that the Indian telecoms industry will spend between USD 12.82 and 14.1 billion on acquiring 5G airwaves. However, with much of the industry already facing high debt levels, these sales will require the service providers to raise additional capital from investors or by taking on further debt.

Expect that with the allocation of bands by this auction, that Indian service providers will roll out 5G services in the next three years. Expect also that the rollout of 5G services will drive an increase in the sales of 5G capable mobile devices and expand access to digital government services in rural communities.

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