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Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Saturday said the country had drawn bids totalling about $19 billion for 5G spectrum and the process is likely to continue for the next few days.

Auctions for 5G spectrum continued today, after fetching bids worth 1,49,967 crore after 30 rounds so far from players such as Reliance Industries' Jio and Bharti Airtel.

Jio, rivals Airtel and Vodafone Idea, as well as billionaire Gautam Adani's Adani Enterprises were all among the bidders for 5G airwaves.

Vaishnaw said he expects the rollout of 5G, which the government says can provide data speeds about 10 times faster than 4G, by October 2022.

Around 71% of the total spectrum put on the block has been provisionally sold so far, Vaishnaw had said yesterday, terming it a "good response."

On Friday, seven rounds of bidding took place, and incrementally 231.6 crore was recorded. In all, 23 rounds of bidding were conducted till Friday.

After a flying start on Tuesday that saw players pouring in 1.45 lakh crore on the first day, the numbers inched up incrementally over Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday as Jio and Airtel engaged in intense bidding in UP East circle for 1800 MHz band.

In all, 72 GHz (gigahertz) of radiowaves worth at least 4.3 lakh crore is on the block. The auction is being held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz), mid (3300 MHz) and high (26 GHz) frequency bands.

Besides powering ultra-low latency connections, which allow downloading full-length high-quality video or movie to a mobile device in a matter of seconds (even in crowded areas), the Fifth Generation or 5G would enable solutions such as e-health, connected vehicles, more-immersive augmented reality and metaverse experiences, life-saving use cases, and advanced mobile cloud gaming, among others.

With agency inputs

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