New Delhi: With Jio acquiring 700 MHz, BofA Securities said in a report that the company is well placed to roll out standalone 5G.

The advantage of standalone 5G is that the company would be able to offer the true low-latency applications, such as slicing.

This is difficult for its peers to offer given the lack of spectrum (telcos cannot roll this out on 4G bands).

"While 5G standalone still lags in terms of handsets, equipment and application, we find Jio better placed than its peers to offer differentiated service. This could help the company to poach high-end customers (a chink in its armour) from its competitors - likely increasing competition at the high end," the report said.

Jio was the biggest spender at $11.1 bn, followed by Bharti ($5.5 bn) and Vodafone Idea ($2.3 bn). The surprise in the auction (vs expectations) was Jio acquiring 700 MHz spectrum and incremental bidding in select circles in UP-East.

"With the auction concluded, we believe that focus will shift to rollout and market share gains on the back of 5G. We find RIL best positioned, followed by Bharti," BofA Securities said.

Foreign brokerage JP Morgan said in a report that the highest interest was witnessed in the 3300Mhz and 26Ghz bands, as expected, but Jio surprised by also leasing 700Mhz. With the recent spectrum acquisitions, Jio has by far the highest share of spectrum.

"Jio acquired 220Mhz in the 700Mhz band, which came as a surprise. We believe the rational would be the cost for 700Mhz, which was 17 per cent cheaper than the 800Mhz it had acquired in last year's auctions, better support for an accelerated 5G launch," JP Morgan said.

With this, Jio gets overall spectrum market share leadership. With the recent spectrum acquisitions, Jio has the highest spectrum now pan India (47 per cent share), followed by Bharti Airtel (38 per cent) and Vodafone Idea (14 per cent).

The annual spectrum payments for Jio will be Rs 79 bn, Rs 39 bn for Bharti and Rs 17 bn for Vodafone Idea. However, the telcos will save significantly on SUC as the additional spectrum comes at 0 per cent SUC charge. The weighted average SUC for the telcos now drops to 0.2-0.8 per cent from 3.5 per cent earlier, resulting in significant costs savings.

"We estimate costs savings of Rs 30-40 bn annually for Bharti and Jio over FY23-25 and Rs 12-15 bn for Vodafone Idea," JP Morgan said.

Jio said in a statement that the acquisition of the right to use this spectrum will enable Jio to build the world's most advanced 5G network and further strengthen India's global leadership in wireless broadband connectivity.

Akash Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Jio Infocomm, said: "We have always believed that India will become a leading economic power in the world by adopting the power of breakthrough technologies. This was the vision and conviction that gave birth to Jio. The speed, scale and societal impact of Jio's 4G rollout is unmatched anywhere in the world. Now, with a bigger ambition and stronger resolve, Jio is set to lead India's march into the 5G era.

"We will celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav' with a pan India 5G rollout. Jio is committed to offering world-class, affordable 5G and 5G-enabled services."

The enhanced network capacity would address the rapidly growing data demand on Jio network which already carries one of the highest wireless data traffic in the world.

Jio's extensive fibre-based offering, now supplemented by wireless home offering, will catapult India to leadership in home broadband services in the same way that Jio took India to global leadership in mobility services.


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