Put All the Available 5G Spectrum in Auction to Avoid Scarcity: Trai Secretary

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Addressing the nation at the Indian Mobile Congress (IMC) 2020, SK Gupta, Secretary of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said that the telecom department needs to ensure adequate availability of 5G spectrum at an affordable price for the telcos. This is so that Indian telecom service providers (TSPs) can test 5G for India specific use cases as soon as possible. Gupta said that he is aware of the concerns of the service providers related to high pricing of the 5G spectrum — more details on the story ahead.

Make 5G Spectrum Available for Telcos at an Affordable Cost

As per an ET Telecom report, Gupta in his note said that Trai has been recommending to put all the available 5G spectrum into the auction so that any possibility of artificial scarcity of spectrum dies.

Adding to this, he said that sharing and trading of the spectrum should be encouraged so that the best possible use of it is possible. Gupta said that Trai has done everything in its power to keep the price of the spectrum as reasonable as possible for the telcos.

What’s interesting to note here is that the Trai has left the final reviewing and decision of 5G spectrum price on the hands of the government. The regulator has suggested to price a unit of spectrum in the 3300-3600 MHz bands Rs 492 crore. This figure doesn’t seem like Trai actually putting too many efforts on reducing the price of the spectrum. Telecom operators have already shown their disinterest on the price suggested by Trai.

Gupta further said that the regulatory body has already suggested spectrum allocation for the telcos so that they can move ahead with the trials. The only wait is for the operators to take the lead and start testing 5G for India specific use cases.

He also laid stress on the massive need for fiberisation activity in India. Gupta said that currently, only 30% of the Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) in the country have optical fibre connectivity. This needs to be expanded to more stations across India as soon as possible.

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