Auctions for 5G spectrum continued for the fifth day on Saturday, after fetching bids worth ₹1,49,855 crore from players such as Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel so far.

Continued interest for radiowaves has led to stretching of the auction to Saturday, and according to sources, 24th round of bidding is underway.

About 71 per cent of the total spectrum put on the block has been provisionally sold so far, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said on Friday, 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.

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and a unit of billionaire Gautam Adani's flagship Adani Enterprises are in the race to bid for 5G spectrum, which offers speeds about 10 times faster than 4G, lag-free connectivity, and can enable billions of connected devices to share data in real-time.

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.

Benefits of 5G

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.