All-India 5G Rollout May Need Up To Rs 2.3 Lakh Crore Investment, Says Motilal Oswal
A sign advertising 5G network-enable phones sits on display inside a EE mobile phone store, operated by BT Group Plc, in Reading, U.K. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

All-India 5G Rollout May Need Up To Rs 2.3 Lakh Crore Investment, Says Motilal Oswal

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Investments in key components of 5G network on mid or low-band spectrum with pan-India coverage is estimated to be about Rs 1.3-2.3 lakh crore, according to a report by Motilal Oswal Financial Services.

The total capital expenditure or capex requirement when it comes to 5G rollout for Mumbai alone is seen at Rs 10,000 crore, and Rs 8,700 crore for Delhi, it said. According to the telecom report from Motilal Oswal Financial Services, for mid band or low band spectrum, overall capex requirement for pan-India coverage would hover at Rs 1.3-2.3 lakh crore.

Based on the latest reserve price, capex requirement for obtaining 100 MHz mid band spectrum in Mumbai would be about Rs 8,400 crore, which could go up further if the bidding price is higher than the base price.

Also read: Motilal Oswal: The 5G Saga - Spectrum And Network Dilemma, Capex And More

Assuming about 9,000 sites would be required for coverage, the total capex requirement for the sites would be Rs 1,800 crore - taking the total capex to Rs 10,000 crore, it said.

Similarly, capex estimate for 5G rollout in Delhi would be Rs 8,700 crore assuming 100MHz mid band spectrum at base price. The Indian telecom industry is seeing capex peak out - particularly for Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. - and increased free cash flows , the report said but added that risks have, however, started emerging due to the increased costs toward 5G upgrade and the upcoming spectrum renewal.

Investments in three key large components for a 5G network spectrum, sites and fiber on mid/low band spectrum with pan-India coverage would stand at Rs 1.3-2.3 lakh crore which should reduce to Rs 78,800 crore and 1.3 lakh crore, for coverage of only metros and category 'A' circles, it said.

Also read: Telecom’s Brief Sunny Season Over, Back To Price Wars?

Even assuming rollout starting from FY23, a staggered deployment over the next 4-5 years - in line with 4G investment trend - may insulate the impact to a large extent. The expiry of spectrum for Jio's 115MHz quantity in the 800MHz band acquired/shared from Reliance Communications in 19 circles, Bharti's 57 MHz quantity in the 1,800 MHz band and Vodafone Idea's 37.8MHz/6.2Mhz quantity in the 1,800MHz/900MHz band are "attractive good quality spectrum" and would be up for renewal over the next 6-12 months, Motilal Oswal report noted.

This would cost Jio/Bharti/Vodafone Idea Rs 28,000 crore/Rs 12,900 crore/Rs 8,300 crore at reserve price, it said.

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