Everyone in the Indian telecom industry is waiting for the 5G spectrum auctions to take place. The auctions have been delayed enough, but it looks like they will be delayed even further. The Indian Navy, which holds 100 MHz of the 5G spectrum does not want to vacate it anytime soon. This comes via a Business Standard report which mentions that the Indian Navy doesn’t want to vacate its 100 MHz of airwaves in the 3.3 GHz - 3.4 GHz band.
A Department of Telecommunications (DoT) official aware of the matter told the publication that the Indian Navy isn’t ready to vacate the 5G spectrum that it holds for the auctions. Until and unless the DoT can clear things up with the Indian Navy, it can’t seek consultation on the matter from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
5G Spectrum Auctions Supposed to Happen After Trials Over
The Indian telecom operators including Vodafone Idea (Vi), Bharti Airtel, and Reliance Jio have started testing their 5G solutions and networks with the help of European vendors. All the operators are using airwaves assigned by the DoT strictly for the purpose of trials.
The 5G auctions were supposed to take place once the Indian operators completed their 5G trials. However, if the Indian Navy isn’t ready to vacate the necessary airwaves, it will be hard for the DoT to go ahead with the auctions.
All the operators thinking of rolling out 5G services will be dependent on the mid-band airwaves that the Indian Navy currently holds. Because of this unfortunate development, the government’s plan of holding the 5G auctions early in 2022 might go down the water. Another delay in the 5G spectrum auctions will mean delayed rollout of 5G networks as well. Hopefully, the DoT can work out things with the Indian Navy and the auctions can take place at the desired time by the government.