One of the biggest issues in making 5G a faster reality for India is the spectrum pricing of the airwaves. The 5G airwaves are priced very much in the premium range as per the telcos. The telecom operators have made it clear that if they have to overpay for the 5G spectrum, they will ignore spending any money in the spectrum auctions.
Looking at this, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sent a reference to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), seeking fresh base prices of the different 5G and 4G spectrum bands. For 5G, operators are most likely to purchase the airwaves in the 3.3 - 3.6 GHz bands, 700 MHz band, and mmWave bands such as 26 GHz and 28 GHz. Further, the DoT has also asked the TRAI to consider a fresh base price for the 4G bands, which includes airwaves in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands.
When Will 5G Spectrum Auctions Take Place?
The 5G spectrum auctions are expected to take place between January - March 2022. According to some earlier reports, the government is most likely to schedule it for February 2022. As per ET Telecom, the DoT has asked TRAI for fresh base prices for different spectrum bands.
The reason why this is a good move is not just because it will allow the telcos to roll out 5G services at feasible costs, but also because it reduces the burden off their shoulders. Most of the debt that the telecom industry has today is related to the spectrum. Thus, the telcos’ wouldn’t want to overpay for the spectrum they are purchasing from the auction.
Bharti Airtel has made it clear that if the 700 MHz spectrum band is not priced rightly along with the other 5G airwaves, it will go ahead with rolling out 5G services with the help of 4G spectrum and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology.