Adani joins 5G race; will compete with Reliance Jio, Airtel
Marking its possible entry into the telecom industry, Adani Group has put in an application to take part in India's first auction of the 5G spectrum on July 26. It is unclear which entity of the conglomerate applied for participation. Established players like Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, and Bharti Airtel have also joined the race for the 5G bandwidth, required for high-speed internet connectivity.
- The Centre will auction the 5G spectrum across 10 bands ranging from 600MHz to 26GHz for two decades. Hence, any investment will require a long-term commitment.
- Adani's participation could make bidding for the C-band (3.3-3.67GHz) aggressive, as these airwaves will be available in metros and tier-1 cities, where 5G adoption will be more widespread.
- Adani Group is indeed diversifying its portfolio.
Adani Group made the application on July 8 and it has not disclosed the quantum of airwaves it applied for. The company will need a unified access service (UAS) permit from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to take part in the auction. The permit is only being given to Indian companies, and foreign applicants have to form or acquire an Indian firm first.
The Centre wants to auction spectrum in various low bands, including 600MHz, 700MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz, and 2500MHz. The mid (3.3-3.67GHz) and high (26GHz) frequency bands are also on its radar. The government expects the companies to utilize both mid and high-band spectrum to roll out 5G services across the country.
All interested companies will have to submit ownership details by July 12, followed by a bidder-ownership compliance certificate. Later, there will be a pre-qualification of bidders. Auction applications can be withdrawn by July 19 and the bidders will be declared the following day. Finally, the auction will take place on July 26. Spectrum worth Rs. 4.5 lakh crore at base prices is at stake.
Some experts believe that Adani is heavily investing in data centers to make it an enterprise business. This business will rival Indian telecom companies as well as global tech giants like Amazon and Google. The conglomerate might also compete with established players in providing 5G services to users. It may also acquire or collaborate with other firms for the same in the long run.