A non-profit telecom industry association, ITU-APT Foundation of India or IAFI in a statement has recommended that the prices of the 5G spectrum whether it is below 6 GHz band or millimetre-wave (mmWave) bands above 24 GHz, should be kept reasonable for telecom operators. It also recommended that the prices of the 5G spectrum for telecom operators should be lesser in comparison to other parts of the globe. The recommendation from IAFI came in with its submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)’s consultation paper on spectrum auction for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)/5G.
The Recommendation from IAFI to TRAI
According to a report from ET Telecom, in the submission, IAFI talked about the 700 MHz band and recommended that the reserve price for 700 MHz should be Rs 500 crores for the nationwide spectrum per MHz whereas for C-band it should be Rs 100 crores. It also suggested that the reserved price for the mmWave band should be Rs 80 crores per 10 MHz nationwide spectrum. IAFI went on to stress in its submission on the previously failed auctions of 700 MHz frequencies. The auction held in February 2021 for 700 MHz witnessed the reserve price set at about $ 1.89 per MHz per POP (adjusted for PPP). This reserve price was about 34 times more than the internationally set reserved price of $ 0.05 and higher than the mean winning bid price of the entire globe – $ 0.54 as well.
Furthermore, the association also stated that the recommended reserve price for the C-band spectrum by the regulatory body is too high in comparison to the prices set globally. In India, the reserve price for the C-band spectrum has been recommended as $0.05 per MHz per POP which is a lot more than the prices witnessed in the recently held spectrum auctions around the world. Earlier, TRAI had asked for the views of stakeholders regarding the 5G spectrum bands auction.
The super-efficient 600 MHz band and the millimetre spectrum in the 24.25 GHz to 28.5 GHz band have been included as a part of the 5G spectrum auctions. In addition to this, airwaves in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 180 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz and 3.3 GHz to 3.67 GHz have also been kept as a potential option. IAFI, however, has also recommended in its submission to TRAI that the bands from 526 MHz to 612 MHz should not be put up for auction as it requires a further detailed discussion in India as well as in ITU and APT.