Telecom operators in India agreed to spend $19 billion on the government auction for the 5G radio waves, New Delhi said on Monday, the highest sum in any spectrum sale as the world’s second-biggest mobile market anticipates the rollout of improved and faster voice and wireless networks data speeds prepared .
Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea competed with each other for seven days and made the majority of acquisitions, buying 71% of all spectrum on offer, which the government says has exceeded its expectations.
Jio of tycoon Mukesh Ambani, who counts Google and Meta among his backers, was the most aggressive participant, spending $11.13 billion, Telecommunications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in a news conference on Monday. Airtel powered by Google Has spent $5.44 billion, while Vodafone Idea, the Indian unit of British giant Vodafone Group and billionaire Kumar Mangalam’s Idea Cellular, has spent $2.37 billion.
Despite being the second largest mobile market, India has been slow compared to several markets in building out the networks for the rollout of 5G technology, which carriers around the world say will offer significantly faster data speeds and could play a crucial role in applications surrounding innovation in of autonomous mobility and telemedicine and robotics among other industries.
The lure of faster speeds should help telecom operators, which have struggled with falling revenues in recent years, persuade consumers to pay more for data, analysts say.
“We have always believed that India will become a leading economic power in the world by embracing the power of breakthrough technologies. From this vision and belief, Jio was born. The speed, scale and societal impact of Jio’s 4G rollout is unmatched anywhere in the world. Now, with even greater ambition and stronger determination, Jio will lead India’s march into the 5G era,” Akash Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm, said in a statement. “Jio is committed to providing best-in-class, affordable 5G and 5G-enabled services. We will provide services, platforms and solutions that will accelerate India’s digital revolution, particularly in key sectors such as education, healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing and e-governance.”
Reliance’s aggressive spending shows its growing digital ambitions. The oil giant, which began telecom operations six years ago, has established itself as the largest mobile operator in India, with more than 420 million subscribers. By offering cheap data prices, Jio attracted subscribers and forced the industry into lower tariffs, ushering in an era that has greatly boosted mobile data consumption in the South Asian nation and benefitted countless startups.
“The Hail Mary moment was the arrival of Reliance Jio on the market. It has democratized data and smartphones on a scale we haven’t seen in countries other than China,” said Karthik Reddy, VC at early-stage venture firm Blume Ventures, in a previous TechCrunch interview.
New Delhi said Reliance has acquired spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 1800MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands, Bharti Airtel has acquired spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands and Vodafone Idea has acquired spectrum in the 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands.
India expects the rollout of 5G networks to start in October and hopes that residents of several major cities will be able to experience the faster internet by the end of the year. Vaishnaw declared the auction for 5G ether for India a success and said the government is working to complete the allocation by August 10.
In anticipation of the launch, smartphone makers in India have been selling handsets capable of supporting 5G networks for almost two years. In fact, they’ve shipped more than 50 million 5G-compatible smartphones to the South Asian market, a fifth of which arrived in the quarter ended June this year, according to research firm Counterpoint. India is also the second largest smartphone market in the world and one of the fastest growing.
“This spectrum acquisition at the last auction was part of a deliberate strategy to buy the best spectrum assets at a significantly lower relative cost compared to our competition. This will allow us to raise the bar for innovation and address the emerging needs of every discerning customer who demands the best experience in India,” said Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel, in a statement.
India’s richest man’s firm, Gautam Adani, also made its debut at the auction but kept its interest largely limited, spending just $26.8 million. The company announced last month that it was participating in the spectrum auction to offer private network solutions with enhanced cybersecurity in “airports, ports and logistics, power generation, transmission, distribution and various manufacturing operations.”
Ambani’s Reliance Jio top buyer in India’s $19 billion 5G sale – TechCrunch Source link Ambani’s Reliance Jio top buyer in India’s $19 billion 5G sale – TechCrunch