India receives $18 billion in bids for 5G auction, expects to go public in September – TechCrunch

India received bids worth $18 billion on the first day of an auction for 5G waves from tycoons including Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani as the race for faster data begins in the world’s second largest internet market.

Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnau told reporters on Tuesday evening that the bids “far exceeded our expectations” and “appear to be [the bidding level] It will be at the same level” on Wednesday.

He said India expects to start rolling out 5G networks from September. “By the end of the year, residents of many Indian cities will be able to experience 5G,” he said.

He said the government expects to generate record revenues from the auction – which the government plans to complete before August 15 – although he did not provide a figure. The auction and details of the top bidders are expected to become clearer tomorrow, when the auction is expected to complete.

Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm, which counts Google and Meta among its backers, has always been excited about the 5G upgrade. India’s largest telecom operator, which was launched five years ago, has said over the years that its infrastructure is already 5G capable.

Adani’s interest in the 5G offering was surprising. The richest man in Asia has increased his fortune in recent quarters by tapping into an infrastructure empire. Adani Enterprises is the largest coal dealer in India.

However, the company made it clear that it is participating in the Spectrum Auction to offer private networking solutions while enhancing cyber security in “airport, ports, logistics, power generation, transmission and distribution, and various manufacturing operations.”

The Ministry of Communications said on Tuesday that Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, other than Adani and Ambani, are in the race for the bid. Carriers are looking to use the 5G airwaves to boost their revenue while expecting data consumption to grow.

India is offering to sell 72 gigahertz airwaves for 20 years in various frequency bands ranging from 600 megahertz to 26 gigahertz, it said.

Ericsson said in a report last month that 4G is currently the dominant subscription type driving connectivity growth in India, but “5G subscriptions are expected to increase rapidly, reaching around 50 million in the region by the end of 2023”.

5G will account for about 39 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region at the end of 2027, with about 500 million subscriptions. As subscribers move to 5G, annual 4G subscriptions are expected to drop to an estimated 700 million subscriptions in 2027.”

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