It has been more than a year since the last spectrum auction. Telecom regulator Trai was hoping to conduct a spectrum auction this year, but eventually, top telecom operators backed out and requested to not hold any auction at least in the next six months. Today, Manoj Sinha, the minister of communication said that the government has over 7400MHz spectrum available for telecom services.
"The government has 7446MHz of spectrum available for telecom services, of which over 80% is in two new spectrum bands identified for mobile telephony," said Sinha with PTI reporters earlier today.
When the spectrum auction held back in 2016, none of the telecom operators came out to purchase the spectrum in 700MHz band, thanks to the premium price. Sinha today said that the government has as much as 770MHz spectrum available in the premium 700MHz band.
Also, available is a 58.75MHz spectrum in 800MHz band, 15.6MHz in 900MHz band, 46.8MHz in the 1800MHz band and 275MHz in 2100MHz band. This was also shared by Manoj Sinha itself.
It is also said that the government has identified two spectrum bands- 3300-3400MHz and 3400-3600MHz for telecom services. That said, only 6050MHz of the spectrum is available in 3300-3400MHz bands.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is looking to auction just 2100MHz in the 3300-3400MHz band and 175MHz in 3425-3600MHz spectrum band.
"The government has already sought recommendations from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the applicable Reserve Price and related issues for auction of right to use of spectrum above 3000MHz (3300-3400MHz and 3400-3600MHz) besides frequency bands 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2500MHz," Manoj Sinha said to reporters.
Sinha also replied to a query on the use of radio waves for 5G services by saying, the standardisation of 5G technology is expected to be completed around 2020, and after that, operators can deploy services in the frequency bands auctioned.
Previously, telecom operators used to deliver 2G services in 800MHz and 1800MHz spectrum, however, telecom operators are now using same frequencies to provide 4G services. Currently, operators are using spectrum in 900MHz and 2100MHz for 2G and 3G services, but in the near future, operators might use them to provide 4G services.
At the moment, there's no info available on when the next spectrum auction will be held, but with telecom operators pushing for 5G, the spectrum auction might happen in early 2018.