The US$84 bil dilemma vexing India's three telecom tycoons

Bloomberg
Bloomberg6/20/2019 01:11 PM GMT+08  • 6 min read
The US$84 bil dilemma vexing India's three telecom tycoons
(June 20): After racking up US$59 billion ($80.2 billion) of net debt to survive a brutal war in the world’s second-biggest phone-services market, some of India’s billionaires are bracing for more as their next battle looms: 5G.
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(June 20): After racking up US$59 billion ($80.2 billion) of net debt to survive a brutal war in the world’s second-biggest phone-services market, some of India’s billionaires are bracing for more as their next battle looms: 5G.

India seeks to raise US$84 billion this year from a sale of airwaves -- most of it for the new technology tipped to revolutionise connectivity. That’s posing a conundrum for the carriers controlled by tycoons including Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s wealthiest man. Investment would mean more borrowings, but the reward could be revenue streams never seen before.

Operators may soon decide how much more pain they can endure for a high-speed wireless network that can offer better user experience in streaming, gaming and entertainment in a market where Netflix Inc to Amazon.com Inc are making inroads. With applications ranging from manufacturing to education and healthcare, 5G could be the catalyst for India’s digital economy that has the potential to reach US$1 trillion by 2025, according to a report by Deloitte.

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