India’s biggest-ever auction of the spectrum that carries telephone and internet data signals, began on Tuesday with a total of 72 GHz (gigahertz) of 5G airwaves worth Rs 4.3 lakh crore on offer.
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and a unit of billionaire Gautam Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprises are in the race to bid for a 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.
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 bidding which started at 1000 hrs will continue till 1800 hrs and will carry over into the next day if there exists a demand for spectrum and bidders are putting in bids.
The number of days the auction ultimately stretches to will depend on the actual demand for radiowaves and the strategy of individual bidders, although the broad industry consensus is that it may last up to two days.