5G Spectrum Auction: A fierce contest between Jio, Airtel for the UP East Circle!

On Monday, the seventh day of the auction for 5G spectrum in the country, the rest of the players including Jio and Airtel placed their bids for 1800 MHz in the UP East circle. On the sixth day of bidding on Sunday, the total spectrum sales had crossed the Rs 1.50 lakh crore mark. 5G spectrum capable of delivering ultra-high-speed internet has so far fetched Rs 1,50,130 crore in 6 days of auction. The seven fresh rounds of bidding held on Sunday fetched Rs 163 crore.

Monday is the seventh day of the auction and currently the 38th round of bidding is going on. Sources said that after a drop in demand on Saturday, there was a spurt in bidding for 1800 MHz in Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Kanpur of UP East circle on Monday.

The UP East circle has over 10 crore mobile subscribers and there is a fierce competition between Reliance Jio and Airtel for the spectrum. The on-going competition for spectrum in this band of the UP East market has pushed the auction prices to 160 crores per MHz (MHz), which is higher than the reserve price of 91 crores per MHz (MHz). It has also crossed the base price level of Rs 153 crore for the 2021 auction. Reliance Jio had 3.29 crore mobile subscribers in the UP East circle till the month of May. At the same time, Bharti Airtel had 37 million subscribers and Vodafone Idea had 2.02 million subscribers.

The bidding for the 1800 MHz band in the UP East Circle was at its peak between Wednesday and Friday. On Saturday it decreased. On Sunday, there was renewed interest in this and the demand for spectrum supply increased once again. The three private operators are said to be keen to increase their stake in this band in the UP East, as radio waves are not available in the 900 MHz band.

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav has said that the 5G auction highlights that the industry is looking to expand and has entered the next phase of growth. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and a unit of Gautam Adani’s Adani Enterprises are also in the race to bid for 5G spectrum. It offers internet speed almost 10 times faster than 4G.