The 5G spectrum auction is scheduled to start on July 26
India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) confirmed that it had received applications from Adani Data Networks, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel for participation in upcoming 5G auction.
The telecom department also said that these applications have not been processed or pre-qualified. The 5G auction is scheduled to start on July 26.
Adani Data Networks is a subsidiary of Indian multinational conglomerate Adani Group, with businesses in several areas including port management, electric power generation and transmission, renewable energy, mining, airport operations, natural gas, food processing and infrastructure.
“Our intention is not to be in the consumer mobility space … We are participating in the 5G spectrum auction to provide private network solutions along with enhanced cyber security in the airport, ports & logistics, power generation, transmission, distribution, and various manufacturing operations,” the group recently said in a statement.
“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,” Goldman Sachs said in a research note.
The Government of India previously confirmed that the much-awaited 5G spectrum auction will offer frequencies in the 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 3,300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands. The government also confirmed that there will not be a mandatory requirement to make upfront payments by the successful bidders. Payments can be made by winning bidders in 20 equal monthly installments. In case they opt for upfront payment, a moratorium of two years is offered.
The government has also decided to allow enterprises to deploy and run private networks. These firms will be able to acquire spectrum directly from the DoT to set up networks to test and build Industry 4.0 applications such as machine-to-machine communications, IoT and artificial intelligence. The cabinet noted it decided to enable private networks to support a new wave of industrial applications in sectors such as automotive, healthcare, agriculture and energy, among others.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had recently told the Government of India that local carriers will not have incentives to deploy 5G networks if authorities allowed private companies to run their own private 5G networks.
The COAI, which has local operators Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea as some of its key members, has sent a letter to India’s Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stating that there is “no business case for the roll out of 5G networks” if the government allowed local enterprises to deploy and operate their own 5G networks.
Meanwhile, Broadband India Forum (BIF), which supports private networks, recently published a paper in which it has challenged the premise that Indian operators would lose revenues as the entity considers that private 5G will lead to increased productivity for enterprises which will in turn increase the need for more external communications.