Adani Data Networks Ltd (ADNL) on Tuesday said it has acquired the right to use 400 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum in the 26 gigahertz (GHz) millimetre wave band.

The digital connectivity solutions arm of the Adani Group has secured this spectrum for 20 years in the first ever 5G spectrum auction conducted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The newly acquired 5G spectrum is expected to help create a unified digital platform that will accelerate the pace and scale of the Adani group's digitisation of its core infrastructure, primary industry and business-to-commerce (B2C) portfolio, the Gautam Adani-led conglomerate says in a statement.

"Acquiring 400 MHz of spectrum is the group's first step in integrating its digital infrastructure portfolio, which includes data centres, terrestrial fibre and submarine cables, industrial cloud, AI innovation labs, cybersecurity and super apps," says the ports-to-power giant.

The 5G spectrum auction concluded on the seventh day after 40 rounds of bidding, with the government getting bids worth ₹150,173 crore. This is almost double the ₹77,815 crore that the 4G auctions in 2021 generated. Of the 72,098 MHz of spectrum that was on offer, 51,236 MHz amounting to 71% was sold.

"The Adani group's foray into the industrial 5G space will allow our portfolio companies to offer a set of new add on services that capitalises on all the other digital segments we are building," says Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group. "Given that our portfolio is a highly distributed asset intensive investment that are all being revolutionised by sensorisation and fast becoming IoT enabled, we believe the next data surge will be created more by machines than by people as all devices get interconnected."

"This data will need to be streamed, stored, processed, and analysed by other machines in real time and this capability will change every single industry," Adani says.

This volume will be exponentially higher and generated at the edges, especially in a country like India, where the tier 2 and 3 cities are witnessing the fastest all-round growth, he adds.

The group's broader strategy to digitally integrate its current and future businesses includes linking its data centres through a network of submarine and terrestrial cables, building the largest industrial operations cloud in the world, developing the super app to offer a suite of services across its consumer base of 400 million, and establishing an AI centre of excellence.

The acceleration of digital enablement will have material long term improvement in the rate of return on assets, the company says.

The Adani Group had last month said it will provide private network solutions. "We are participating in the 5G spectrum auction to provide private network solutions along with enhanced cyber security in the airport, ports and logistics, power generation, transmission, distribution, and various manufacturing operations," the company had said.

The conglomerate, however, clarified that its intention is not to be in the consumer mobility space.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had earlier urged the government to not reserve any spectrum that has been identified for use of commercial services for private or captive networks.

The industry lobby, which represents telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea, had said this would not only result in a significant loss to the exchequer but also lead to inefficient use of this "scarce resource".

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