The 5G spectrum auction was expected to take place in the last quarter of CY2021. But now, the government might push it to the first quarter in 2022. The delay in the auction’s timeline is because of the ongoing pandemic in the country.
The government is currently busy ensuring that the networks and telecom services are completely stable. According to an ET Telecom report, a senior government official said that India is very likely to postpone the 5G auctions that is supposed to happen at the end of the year to early next year. The official further said that this is so that government can right now focus all of its energy and resources on ensuring that networks are stable at the time of the pandemic.
5G Trials Can Take Some Time to Finish
The telcos will be testing and trying to develop local use cases of 5G with the spectrum offered by the government. These tests are only starting and will go up to at least 6 months. Further, the trial period can even be extended depending on the progress that the company is making. If that happens, the 5G spectrum auctions will naturally be pushed ahead since the telcos will still be testing the technology and won’t be ready for commercial deployment.
Now it is very likely that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) might push the 5G auctions to the first quarter of 2022, i.e., January to March 2022. The government will also be putting the coveted 700 MHz spectrum in the auctions, and it is expected to come with a lower reserve price.
DoT further needs to release an updated National Frequency Allocation Policy (NFAP) detailing the frequency bands that the telcos can use for rolling out 5G in India. Thus, the telecom department will need to sit down with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to decide the reserve price for the new frequency bands, if any.
The telcos want the government to offer the E band (71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz) and V band (57-64 GHz) on the auctions so that lightning 5G speeds can be delivered and also so that affordable rollout of 5G in the country is possible.