The 5G spectrum auctions are only a few months away, and the telecom operators have made their final submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) with regards to how the spectrum auction should take place. On an interesting note, Reliance Jio has called for the need for a higher spectrum cap across bands of 50% from the current 35% in some. However, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) have shared their disagreement on the same. Airtel and Vi say that the spectrum cap should remain where it is right now.
Airtel and Vi Not in Favour of Increasing Spectrum Cap
Reliance Jio, in its final submission to TRAI, said that an overall 35% spectrum cap is not the right way to promote competition in a three-player market. The telco believes that such a limit puts in scope for the quasi-administrative allocation of the airwaves leading to a monopolisation of national resources.
Bharti Airtel disagrees with this and has recommended that a 35% overall cap is appropriate and has asked the regulator to include the 3.3 GHz - 3.6 GHz band in the 35% limit as well. In addition to this, Airtel has also asked the regulator to include the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands in the 35% spectrum cap.
While Vodafone Idea (Vi) agrees that an overall spectrum cap of 35% is appropriate, unlike Airtel, the telco wants the mmWave spectrum bands to be excluded from the limit.
Airtel’s reason for reducing the sub-GHz band cap to 35% comes because the telco believes that the supply of such bands is going to increase with the availability of the 700 MHz band along with the 600 MHz and 500 MHz bands.
Airtel doesn’t want that any player should have the advantage of holding more of a certain spectrum band and have a monopoly over it. Jio believes that a 35% cap for sub 1 GHz bands is not the right way to go ahead.