In the recently concluded 5G spectrum auctions the government recieved a whooping sum of INR 1.5 lakh crores. To get an idea about how massive this sum was, this was 3 times the amount recieved for the 3G spectrum and approximatedly double the amount that was recieved for the 4G spectrum. The expectations were around INR 80-90,000 but this was far more than that. The government looks like a clear winner here but is that so? Let’s discuss about the true winner and the 5G king of India. Jio lashed out a humungous INR 88,000cr, Airtel spent INR 43,000cr, VI spent INR 18,799cr and Adani also spent INR 212cr for a total of 24740 MHz of bands.
So, what is a spectrum?
We all know that energy can travel in the form of waves. These waves are electro-magnetic in nature and are hence called electro-magnetic waves. These electro-magnetic waves are classified on the basis of their frequency who’s unit is Hz or Hertz, and wavelength. These waves do not require a medium to travel. Now the waves which have a frequency range of 3KiloHz to 3000GigaHz are called radio waves and all the wireless transmissions taking place in whole world are on these radiowaves. These radiowaves have a limited frequency range through which telecom companies transport all their data.
The data that has been sent using radiowaves can shift to any of the frequencies and this would create a problem if the data does not get transported on the required frequency. To counter this problem the government divides the frequencies of radiowaves into bands. It is like a corridor and any data transmission can be done only on these corridors. Different bands are alloted for different purposes for example 100-300 MegaHz band is to be used only for FM radio.
The government alloted 72GigaHz bands to the 5G and that was up for sale for a period of 20 years. The telecom ministry of India organised an auction for this purpose. The 600MHz, 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz spectrums were up for sale. The reliance jio got 24.7GHz spectrum, Airtel got 19.8GHz spectrum, VI bought 6.2GHz and Adani group bought 400MHz spectrum. In 5g there are 3 types of bands – Low band, Mid band and High band. The low band frequencies are less than 2GHz (for this auction they were 700, 800 and 900MHz). 1-6GHz are mid bands and 24-40GHz are the high bands. Now out of all these bands there were 3 specific bands for which the telecom giants were very keen on and each of them have a specific use.
The first one was 700Mhz band which was mostly accquired by Jio. It is good for delivering better services in rural and densley populated areas, it can provide speeds upto 300mbps and it is far more efficient than the 900 and 1800MHz bands. This is also the reason why it got the second highest bid in the auction. Then we have the mid band spectrum of 3300-3600 which was bought by all three telecom giants. This is a very important band as it can deliver speeds upto 1GBps in a very economical way. Hence it is to be used for mass consumers and saw the highest bidders in the auction. These bands will be used to provide 5G in teir 1 cities. The 26GHz spectrum saw bidding from all 4 bidders as this is the elite band which gives speeds upto 10GBPS with ultra low latency and very high efficiency. This is such a high speed that it is not meant to be used by consumers and will only be used for companies.