NEW DELHI: India's largest ever auction of spectrum used to carry mobile signals saw bids of Rs 1.45 lakh crore for 5G airwaves from groups run by tycoons Mukesh Ambani, Sunil Bharti Mittal and Gautam Adani on the first day on Tuesday.
All four applicants -- Ambani's Reliance Jio, Mittal's Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and an Adani group firm "actively" participated in 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.
Bids were also received for 700 MHz band, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters. The government received bids worth over Rs 1.45 lakh crore on the first day of bidding, exceeding all expectations and surpassing 2015 records, he said.
As per the process, it will not be known until the close 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. The telecom minister described the participation of four bidders as 'strong'.
The auction saw healthy participation, he said adding the response shows that the industry has turned from its difficult times.
The government, he said, will allocate the spectrum in record time and 5G services are expected to start rolling out by September. The target is to allocate the spectrum by August 14, he said.
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 bands. The auction will continue on Wednesday.