Business & Finance National

Race For 5G Spectrum Tightens As Adani Group Enters To Pitch Against Ambani’s Jio

Billionaire Gautam Adani’s group is said to be planning a surprise entry into the race to acquire telecom spectrum, making the 5G auction a first direct competition with Ambani, news agency PTI reported.

Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, the three private players in the telecom sector have applied. The fourth applicant is of Adani Group, who has recently obtained National Long Distance (NLD) and International Long Distance (ILD) licenses. But this could not be independently confirmed as emails and phone calls made to Adani group did not elicit any response.

As per the auction timelines, ownership details of applicants are to be published on July 12 and the list of bidders will be out then.

Adani recently has set up a subsidiary for a foray into petrochemicals. While Ambani announced multi-billion-dollar plans for new energy business, including Giga factories for solar panels, batteries, green hydrogen and fuel cells. Adani, who had previously announced plans to be the world’s largest renewable energy producer by 2030, too has unveiled hydrogen ambitions.

Ambani and Adani, who hail from Gujarat and went on to build mega business groups, had till recently not had a direct face-off. While the former expanded from the oil and petrochemicals business into telecom and retail, the latter diversified from the ports segment to coal, energy distribution and aviation. But increasingly, their interests are overlapping, setting what some say is the stage for a clash.

The Cabinet, last month, approved 5G auctions at reserve prices recommended by the sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The regulator had recommended an about 39 per cent cut in floor price for the sale of 5G spectrum for mobile services.

The validity of the right to use spectrum will be of 20 years. Overall, the payment terms have been eased for bidders in the upcoming auction.

For the first time ever, there is no mandatory requirement to make upfront payment by the successful bidders.

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