5G auction begins; Ambani, Adani wrestle for airwaves worth ₹4.3L Cr

A total of 72 GHz (gigahertz) of 5G airwaves worth ₹4.3 lakh crore on offer

Gautam Adani sitting
Gautam Adani has been a surprise entrant to the bidding process.

Billionaires including Mukesh Ambani, Sunil Mittal and Gautam Adani are ready for India’s biggest-ever auction of the 5G spectrum airwaves for telephone and internet data on Tuesday (July 26).

A total of 72 GHz (gigahertz) of 5G spectrum airwaves worth ₹4.3 lakh crore on offer.

Ambani’s Reliance Jio, Mittal’s Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and a unit of Adani’s flagship Adani Enterprises are in the race to bid for 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), 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 5G spectrum auction is being held for spectrum in various frequency bands – low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz) and high (26 GHz).

The bidding which started at 10 am on Tuesday will continue till 8 pm 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 5G spectrum 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.

Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited has paid highest pre-auction deposit. Adani, on the other hand, has been a surprise entrant to the bidding process.

Local rating company ICRA Ltd said in June that the 5G spectrum auction has the potential to raise over ₹1.1 trillion ($14 billion).

(With inputs from agencies)