As per industry sources, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) have submitted their applications for participation in the upcoming 4G spectrum auctions, expected to begin from March 01, 2021.

However, as per industry analysts, the spectrum auction is likely to see limited bidding intensity with Jio and Airtel expected to be the main players. The auction will include 2300 MHz of airwaves, valued at Rs 3.92 trillion at base price.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is not putting up the expensive 5G airwaves for sale in the upcoming auction. That said, bulking up existing 4G spectrum will allow telcos to launch 5G services immediately in those bands, without waiting for sale of airwaves in the 3300-3600 MHz bands earmarked for 5G technology.

As per industry estimates, while Jio and Airtel were initially expected to spend Rs 200 billion and Rs 100-150 billion respectively, the two telcos are now likely to spend 15-20 per cent on additional 4G airwaves. Further, this investment will go in select bands in the metro and category A circles, where 4G spectrum assets can now be deployed for 5G use.

As for Vodafone Idea, the telco is unlikely to participate meaningfully in the auction.