700MHz band gets good response in 5G auction

Airtel 5G coverage across India by March 2024
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Airtel 5G coverage across India by March 2024

Highlights

India’s 5G spectrum auctions entered Day-3 on Thursday with 10thround of bidding for airwaves that would power lag-free connectivity and ultra-high speed internet.

New Delhi: India's 5G spectrum auctions entered Day-3 on Thursday with 10thround of bidding for airwaves that would power lag-free connectivity and ultra-high speed internet. The auction of 5G spectrum for telephony services will stretch to the fourth day on Friday after 16 rounds of bidding fetched bids worth Rs 1,49,623 crore.

Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday said 16 rounds of bidding have been completed in three days and the auction will continue on Friday. Bids worth Rs1,49,623 crore have been received at the end of the third day, he said. This is marginally higher than Rs 1,49,454 crore-worth bids received at the end of the ninth round on Wednesday, the second day of the auction. The minister said industry is committed to taking services to rural areas.

As many as five rounds of bidding were conducted on Wednesday, and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said good competition was seen in almost all bands on offer. Vaishnaw expressed happiness at the response received for the coveted 700 MHz band, which did not find any takers in the last two auctions held in 2016 and 2021.

"The sector is coming with new energy and that is reflected in response to 5G auctions,"Vaishnaw told reporters on Wednesday. Firms run by tycoons Mukesh Ambani, Sunil Bharti Mittal and Gautam Adani as well as Vodafone Idea had put in bids worth Rs1.45 lakh crore on the opening day on Tuesday when four rounds were held, and incremental demand for airwaves came in five rounds held on Wednesday.

What is 700MHz brand?

700 Mega Hertz (MHz) is among the lowest-frequency 5G bands, while 4G frequencies are typically between 700 and 2,500 MHz. High-frequency bands deliver higher speeds but are limited to a smaller coverage area. Conversely, low-frequency bands offer slower speeds but a wider coverage area — ideal for a country like India. This band also helps telecom operators cut costs. For thesereasons, 700 MHz is considered a premium band.

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