As the 5G spectrum auctions are awaited, the telecom companies are now relying on the industry regulator and the government to ensure easier payment terms for the upcoming 5G spectrum auctions. The telecom companies have also brought to attention the criticality of fast-track fiberisation of tower networks as India braces to roll out 5G later this year. Leading executives from top telecom operators have stated the expectations of easier payment terms in the upcoming auction. Let’s find out more.
The Need for Easier Pay Terms
According to a report from ET Telecom, Managing Director of Vodafone Idea, Ravinder Takkar in a statement said that the industry is expecting easier payment terms such that financial stress is neither aggravated nor does it nullify the liquidity support provided by the government with the (recent) reforms package. For those unaware, the board of Idea last week approved raising Rs 14,500 crore from its primary promoters – UK’s Vodafone Group as well as Aditya Birla Group (ABG) along with other external investors. The telecom operator is all set to raise Rs 4,500 crore which is approximately $600 million through preferential shares issued at Rs 13.30 per share to its promoters as well as related companies. Moreover, the telco has announced raising another Rs 10,000 crore via equity and debt instruments.
On the other hand, Bharti Enterprises VC Akhil Gupta has stated the need for a comprehensive augmentation of the country’s optic fibre resources to enable the targeted 80-85% fiberisation of towers required for 5G networks to handle a likely massive surge in data traffic. As far as the auctions are considered, the government has been asking the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India or TRAI to submit the pricing recommendation by the end of March so that auctions can be organized in May.
Even though Ravinder Takkar applauded the 5G auctions happening in the country by saying “it is happening at the right time”, he also restated the industry’s demand for affordable 5G airwaves rates. Gupta on the other hand requested the government to fasten the policymaking process and issue necessary guidelines as soon as possible as 5G infrastructure will be on a completely different scale than 4G. It is to be noted that the government has earmarked a mix of mid-band airwaves in the 3.3-3.67 GHz range, millimetre waves (26/28 GHz) and key sub-GHz bands such as 600 MHz and 700 MHz for 5G services.