The most awaited event for the telecom industry of India is the 5G spectrum auctions. The government said that it had fixed the last quarter of the early year as the time period when the spectrum auctions will take place. Looking at this, it is absolutely clear that the 5G spectrum auctions might happen in January, February, or March of 2022. Ashwini Vaishnaw, Telecom Minister, recently said that the 5G spectrum auctions in India will most probably take place in February of 2022.
According to a PTI report, the telecom minister further said that the government will try to hold the auctions as early as January 2022, which is only four months away from now. Speaking about the spectrum prices, Vaishnaw said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is currently in the consulting phase; thus, once the regulator comes out with the final recommendations, only then he will give his views on it.
5G Spectrum Auctions Pricing Concern a Major One
In such a low average revenue per user (ARPU) market, the Indian telcos will be wary of how much they spend on the spectrum they purchase. Because of low returns on investments, the telcos won’t want to spend anything ‘premium’ on the spectrum they get for 5G. Airtel has said in the past that it will go ahead with the 4G spectrum and Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) technology if it doesn’t get the 5G spectrum at a fair price.
The telcos already have plenty of 4G spectrum, and this scenario is possible. Even the 700 MHz spectrum band has seen no takers because of the same reason of unfair pricing from the government. It is worth noting that the 700 MHz spectrum will play a very crucial role in the rollout of 5G networks in India. The telcos are currently testing their 5G networks in the 3.5 GHz spectrum band in different parts of the country. Thus they are expected to go for this spectrum band initially in the auctions.