Government of India might defer 5G spectrum sale in 2021 and focus on 4G auction in 2020. Officials from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) stated that 5G auctions in 2020 would have intrigued fewer buyers which might be one of the primary reasons for pushing the 5G sale in 2021. However, as reported by ET Telecom, the lack of clarity on whether Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE can deploy their next-generation mobile technology could be another reason for the deferment of 5G sale in 2021. As per the officials who are aware of the matter, the discussions regarding deferring the 5G Auction is still in talks as some of the telcos need to buy 5G spectrum. In case if the proposal is finalised, it will be transferred towards Cabinet Approval.
Major telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio has already shared their disinterest towards the high base price of 5G Auction. DoT has set the base price at Rs 492 crore a unit. Bharti Airtel has previously stated that they will not participate with the exorbitant base price set by DoT. However, the largest telecom operator of India Reliance Jio has not backed up the move to push 5G Auctions in 2021. Rajiv Sharma, who is the head of research at SBICap Securities, noted that placing 4G auction before 5G will help the government financially and increase the monetary value of spectrum.
It is still unclear that Huawei will be allowed to deploy 5G networks in India. As per industry executives, this is the biggest reason for the deferment of 5G spectrum sale in 2021. However, there are several other reasons which are pushing the 5G sale in the future date. Government has marked that Department of Space and the defence ministry have demanded premium spectrum for their use. In such a case, the quantum of 5G airwaves for telcos will be uncertain. It is expected that once the discussions are fully completed regarding the deferment of 5G sale, the government will release the final statement regarding 5G spectrum sale in India.