According to research firm IIFL Securities, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea are planning to purchase spectrum worth ₹71,000 crore in India’s 5G auction next month. This means that a large band of radio waves will remain unsold. The government will be auctioning airwaves worth approximately ₹4.3 lakh crore.
The report notes that the auction will be adversely affected by the Indian government’s decision of directly allocating spectrum to private companies. IIFL added, “While supply is abundant, the government has not cut TRAI’s proposed reserve prices despite telcos’ assertion that these were still high. We see telcos bidding only for four of the 10 bands and spectrum should be sold at base price. We estimate spectrum outlay of ₹37,500 crore, ₹25,000 crore and ₹8,500 crore for Jio, Bharti and Vi.
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The research firm said that it doesn’t expect the companies to bid for the 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,300MHz and 2,500MHz bands. “We do not assume any bids in the 1,800MHz, 2,100MHz, 2,300MHz and 2,500MHz bands. Bids for 3.6GHz are somewhat tricky to predict,” IIFL noted.
According to the report, the three telcos could bid for the 5G radio waves in the 3.6GHz and 28GHz band. This could result in tremendous savings when it comes to spectrum usage charges. Meanwhile, the telecom companies might not bid on the premium 700MHz band spectrum, as their prices might fall in the next rounds.
India’s 5G spectrum auction was previously scheduled for June 2022, which was delayed by a month. The 5G mega auction is now scheduled to take place by the end of July 2022. A total of 72097.85 MHz of 5G spectrum is expected to be auctioned. Those who win the bids will hold the rights for the spectrum for a period of 20 years.