Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani will be in direct competition when they later this month participate in the auction of airwaves capable of providing fifth generation or 5G telecom services.

But the rivalry between the two politically well-connected Gujarati businessmen will not yet see a full-blown market clash despite overlaps.

Adani group confirmed plans to participate in the July 26 5G spectrum auction but said the airwaves it was seeking was to set up a private network to help digitise its businesses from airports to energy to data centres.

Jio as well as telecom czar Sunil Bharti Mittal's Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea Ltd -- the other two dominated telecom companies in the country -- have also made applications to participate in the 5G auction.

While the three will be bidding to corner spectrum to support a pan-India rollout of 5G voice and data services, Adani will compete to get the same airwaves for private captive networks.

The nation's richest -- Adani and Ambani -- had taken contrasting approaches to business diversification, which in recent months has seen increasing overlap.

"Where is the direct competition," a source asked. "Adani will desalinate sea water for use in electrolysers to produce green hydrogen while Ambani is looking to decarbonise his oil business."