Telecom operators competed for a small piece of the 5G auction on Thursday, which will continue for a fourth day today. There was a fierce rivalry for 5G spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band, and that too in a B category circle of Uttar Pradesh, rather than a fight for 5G spectrum bands in metro areas or category A circles (East). There hasn't been much of a movement in the last two days of the auction when seen from the perspective of the bid value growth. The total amount of bids received on Wednesday was Rs 149,454 crore, and on Thursday it increased to Rs 149,623 crore, an increase of just Rs 169 crore.
The 1,800 MHz band in UP (E) has seen an increase in the last three days, with outflows at Rs 983 crore, Rs 1,058 crore, and Rs 1,227 crore, respectively. Bidding in the other bands has remained unchanged. The fact that the UP (E) circle is the most populated, with a population of about 145 million and a subscriber base of 90 million, is the main reason of fierce competition for it. With 37.47 million subscribers, Bharti Airtel leads the pack, followed by Reliance Jio (32.93 million) and Vodafone Idea (20.23 million). Bharti once again holds the most spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band, with 16 MHz, while Jio and Vodafone Idea both have 10 MHz.
With seven rounds, Thursday had the most auction rounds in the previous three days. Four rounds were held on the first day, while five rounds were held on the second. The continuation of the auction is a very healthy and encouraging indicator, according to Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who announced this on Thursday. So far, 51 GHz of the total 72 GHz spectrum put up for auction has been sold.