Adani Data Networks, Jio, Airtel, Vodafone Idea Have Bid For Spectrum Auction

Gautam Adani-led Adani Data Networks, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea have applied to participate in the upcoming 5G auction, according to the Department of Telecom (DoT) on Tuesday, the PTI reported.

The spectrum auction, scheduled to start on July 26, may see aggressive bids for some frequency bands, with the entry of Adani Data Networks and established players Jio and Airtel looking to strengthen their hold in the industry.

The DoT said, “Applications have been received from the…applicants for participation in the 2022 auction for rights to use spectrum in 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz Bands.”

The telcos have time till July 19 to withdraw their applications.

Adani Group on Saturday expressed its interest to enter the race to acquire spectrum, which it said will be used to create a private network to support its businesses from airports to power as well as data centres.

A total of 72,097.85 MHz of spectrum worth at least Rs 4.3 lakh crore will be put on the block during the auction, set to commence on July 26, 2022.

The auction will be held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz), and high (26 GHz) frequency bands.

BofA Securities in a note on Monday on the Adani Group’s plans to bid in 5G auctions said, “We consider this news flow negative for incumbent telcos as it increases competition in upcoming auction bidding as well as in the long-term opportunity to target the enterprise space”.

Brokerage CLSA wondered why Adani would bid in auction versus awaiting a direct spectrum assignment. “The question is why would Adanis bid in auction versus awaiting a direct spectrum assignment? Adani’s entry will create uncertainty over spectrum pricing in the 5G auctions, which was expected to see bidding competition primarily between Airtel and Jio,” it said in a report.

Goldman Sachs said while the group has stated it does not intend to be in the consumer mobility space, “We believe if the Adani Group does end up buying spectrum in the upcoming auction, it could potentially increase competition in enterprise 5G, in addition to opening the doors for the Adani Group to expand into consumer mobile services over time.”

With PTI inputs