The government expects to complete processes for 5G spectrum auction by August and the services will be rolled out by 2020, Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said Monday. “Trai has given a preliminary set of recommendations, which the working committee at the Department of Telecommunications is looking at. Task force has also given a broader set of (spectrum) bands on which we have to work. Everybody has said that since the ecosystem is not ready, 5G will be ready after July-August next year,” Sundararajan told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop with states and Union territories.
Amid a raging financial crisis in the industry, India’s largest telecom operator Vodafone Idea has urged the telecom department not to hold spectrum auction till 2020 on the grounds that fresh need for quality radio waves will arise only once the 5G ecosystem is ready.
“We expect to complete the due procedure by then (July-August 2019). I cannot say whether it (spectrum auction) will happen by then, but we will be ready post-second half of 2020. When we say 2020, it doesn’t mean the whole country will have 5G but it will start. Field trials are going on,” Sundararajan said.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Sunday recommended an auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies at an estimated total base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore, which includes radio waves for 5G services. The 5G committee of the telecom ministry has said about 6,000 Mhz of spectrum can be made available without delay for the next generation mobile service.
The panel has spotted spectrum for 5G services across 11 bands, of which four bands — premium 700 Mhz band, 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz), 24 Ghz and 28 Ghz band — can be made immediately available for the service.
During her speech at the workshop on the implementation of the National Digital Communications Policy, Sundararajan said that the rollout of 5G services in the country would have an impact of USD 1 trillion on the economy. The workshop was attended by most of the states and Union territories.