Breaking the 2015 records, the first day of the 5G auction on Tuesday saw the government receive bids of Rs 1.45 lakh crore from the four contenders, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said.
The first-day bids "exceeded all expectations and surpassed 2015 records", he said.
The four bidders are Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and an Adani group firm and their participation was "strong", Vaishnaw added.
As per the minister, there were four rounds of bidding on the first day with most interest in mid and high-end bands and strong interest in the 3300 MHz and 26 GHz bands. Bids were also received for the 700 MHz band, he said.
Which company bagged which spectrum will only be known when the entire process ends, as the rules forbid any early disclosure.
Vaishnaw also said that the government will allocate the spectrum in record time, in accordance with the August 14 deadline, and 5G services are expected to start rolling out by September.
The auction entails the 600, 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300, 2500, 3300 MHz and 26GHz bands.
The four big players in the race have submitted a combined Rs 21,400 crore in earnest money deposit (EMD), and are ready with their war chests and strategies for the mega bid, that is likely to be around Rs 1.5 lakh crore if the last two auctions are kept in mind.
Reliance Jio Infocomm has submitted an EMD of Rs 14,000 while Bharti Airtel has put in Rs 5,500 crore.
In the 2021 auctions for 4G spectrum, Reliance Jio used 77.9 per cent of their earnest money deposit while Airtel used 87.7 per cent.
The 5G era will open 10 times faster than 4G and 30 times faster than 3G, allowing millions to have an experience never seen before.
5G in India will empower tech companies, enterprises and ecosystem players to build private networks and bring next-generation digital transformation which is critical for the country to achieve the goal of becoming a $1 trillion digital economy, according to industry leaders and experts.
With the 5G auctions, India is one step closer to realising a 5G-led future, with a strong base of 5G-capable devices already in place.