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On the verge of its upcoming 5G spectrum auction, India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has reportedly postponed the event once more, now scheduling it for June 25.

Originally planned for May 20, the auction was initially pushed back to June 6 to occur after the country's general elections. However, reports indicate that the DoT has revised its Notice Inviting Applications (NIA)—which details the auction regulations—and has rescheduled the mock auctions to June 13 and 14, with the actual auction now set to begin on June 25. No explanation or statement has been provided for this latest delay.

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The auction will offer spectrum in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz bands, with a potential accumulative value of INR 963.1 billion (USD 11.3 billion).

The report indicates that although private telecom companies such as Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea have formally submitted their applications for the auction, industry analysts anticipate minimal expenditure from them. One reason for this is that the earnest money deposits (EMDs) submitted by the telcos are the lowest since 2014, and up to 86% lower than those in the 2022 5G auction.

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Another factor is the low actual uptake of 5G services despite Jio and Airtel having completed their initial 5G rollouts as they currently have enough 5G spectrum to meet immediate market demand. Similarly, Vodafone Idea, which has only just begun its 5G rollout, plans to offer services later this year.

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