5G battle between Ambani and Adani: Asia’s richest face off

India’s biggest spectrum auction grabbed the attention of the top telcos. The 5G auction continued for one week and ended on Monday, 2nd August 2022, setting a battle stage over the digital future of the country between Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani. According to the telecoms minister, Mr. Ashwini Vaishnaw, 71% of what was on offer has sold out. The Indian government drew bids of around $19bn from mainly Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Mr. Ambani’s Reliance Jio, and Adani Data Networks (new entrant).

As per CRISIL Research, tremendous growth has been noted this year in comparison to the auction held last year on March 2021. The total bid amount has more than doubled this year.

The largest bid worth $11bn was placed by Reliance Jio while Adani spent around $26m. The remaining was spent by Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel. Vodafone Idea tried to capture only the priority sectors. While Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel invested in pan-India airwaves. Jio with its nationwide fibre presence is all set to capture the 5G market in quick time.

The Adani Group, on the other hand, had targeted private sectors covering power, airports, and ports. With a net worth of more than $112bn, Ambani could increase competition by entering into the consumer mobile services sector, said a Goldman Sachs report.

Mr. Vaishnaw noted that India will have 5G connections accessible at remote locations within a year or so, citing a relatively optimistic outlook towards the availability of 5G services for the general population.

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