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Reliance Jio shops for $8 bn in airwaves auction
Photo Credit: Reuters

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecoms company backed by tycoon Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani and tech giants Facebook and Google, won airwaves worth roughly $8 billion in a spectrum auction that closed on Tuesday.

Jio picked up a total of 488.35 megahertz (Mhz) in frequency bands of 800 Mhz, 1800 Mhz and 2300 Mhz, India's telecoms secretary Anshu Prakash told reporters.

The top three Indian wireless carriers - Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea - together bought airwaves worth Rs 77,815 crore ($10.60 billion) at the close of the two-day spectrum auction, Prakash said.

Airtel purchased spectrum worth Rs 18,699 crore, while Vodafone Idea bought airwaves for Rs 1,993 crore, Prakash said.

Both Jio and Bharti said the additional airwaves will help them serve hundreds of millions of new users, in addition to their existing customers.

Vodafone said the new airwaves it acquired will help it enhance its 4G coverage and capacity.

"With our increased spectrum footprint, we are ready to further expand the digital footprint in India as well as get

ourselves ready for the imminent 5G rollout," Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani said in a statement.

Ambani, who won the backing of Facebook, Google and Qualcomm for Jio's parent firm last year, has previously said his company is looking to launch 5G services in the country in the second half of 2021.

Jio will make an upfront payment of 199.39 billion for the airwaves, it said. The remainder will be paid over 18 years.

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