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The Centre plans to roll out 5G networks before the end of the yearNew Delhi:
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio swept up the lion’s share for the 5G spectrum, acquiring close to half of all the airwaves sold in the latest auction for Rs 88,078 crore. Here are the top points in this big story:The Centre plans to roll out 5G networks offering up to 10 times the speed of 4G to before the end of the year. Analysts saying authorities held off auctioning the spectrum in the hope of raising more revenue.Four companies bid a total of 1.5 trillion rupees ($19 billion) for 20-year 5G licences. Only 71 percent of the 72 GHz of available airwaves were bid for during the seven-day auction, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters in New Delhi.”Jio is set to lead India’s march into the 5G era,” chairman Akash Ambani said in a statement, promising “services, platforms and solutions that will accelerate India’s digital revolution.”Gautam Adani, who competes with Ambani for the title of Asia’s richest person, marked his entry into telecoms by bidding for just over 0.5 percent.Earlier this month, Adani said the conglomerate does not plan to use the airwaves to compete in the consumer mobility space.It was looking to “provide private network solutions along with enhanced cyber security in the airport, ports and logistics, power” and manufacturing sectors, the company said in a statement.Rival Bharti Airtel, led by Sunil Mittal, bid 431 billion rupees for just over a quarter of the spectrum.Airtel and British telecoms giant Vodafone’s local unit Vi have been locked in fierce competition with Ambani’s Jio since the latter kicked off a price war in 2016 by offering dirt-cheap internet and free calls.Debt-laden Vi – formerly Vodafone Idea – which is also backed by Indian billionaire KM Birla’s Aditya Birla Group, picked up nearly nine percent of the bands.India’s long-delayed 5G push comes as the world’s sixth-largest economy tries to bridge a technology gap with rivals such as South Korea, China and the United States.



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