NEW DELHI: India on Friday bid for at least $19 billion on the fourth day of 5G spectrum auctions as the telecom giant sought necessary airwave rights for next-generation networks in the world’s second-largest mobile market.
The Indian government aims to begin the rollout of 5G – which it says can deliver data speeds about ten times faster than 4G – by September this year. Globally, next-generation networks are critical to emerging technologies such as self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.
72 GHz radiowaves worth at least $54 billion is up for sale in India’s 5G auctions.
The Indian government is yet to provide details of bids made by individual players, but the latest state-wise data shows that as of late Thursday evening, 16 rounds had taken place.
The telcos are bidding aggressively in the auction despite earlier concerns that they will lose about 40% in potential revenues due to the allotment of some airwaves to enterprises for private networks.
Jio, which counts global tech giants Facebook and Google among its backers, is expected to be the first carrier to launch 5G services in India.
Airtel and Vodafone have been under pressure following a price war triggered by Jio in 2016. Both have reported losses in recent years, burdened by previous spectrum dues to the government, though recent mobile data price hikes have slowly started helping Airtel to clock profits.
Adani said in early July that it does not plan to be in the consumer space and instead aims to provide solutions for private 5G networks.