The next round of 4G spectrum sale should have ideally happened in the month of October 2020. But this won’t be possible anymore given that the AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue) dues case took a lot of time and the issue of upfront payment is not yet sorted. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is at the moment thinking about whether it should ask the telcos to pay money upfront or not for the 4G spectrum sale. After the delay, the 4G spectrum sale can happen either in December 2020 or early 2021.
DoT to Take Call on the Decision of Upfront 4G Payment
As per an ET Telecom report, DoT will soon take a call on whether the payment for the next 4G spectrum sale will be upfront or not. The decision will be very crucial since it will also be relevant in the 5G spectrum sale.
A senior government official related to the matter said, “This issue will need to be ironed out and the outcome may depend upon the inter-ministerial consultation.” The decision is going to affect telcos in a huge manner. Telecom companies such as Vi and Bharti Airtel are laden with debt and dues already.
So it becomes an important question whether the government can or should it accept payments upfront for the next 4G spectrum sale. As for now, for any spectrum sale, the company which won the bid needs to pay either 33% or 25% of the amount due within a month from the day the auction is held.
The next 4G spectrum is going to be very crucial for Reliance Jio. It will be more crucial for Jio than Airtel and Vi. This is because Jio is using a large part of 800 Mhz 4G airwaves of Reliance Communications which is due to expire soon in a total 18 telecom zones in India in between July and August 2021.
The 4G bands (700 MHz and 800 MHz) which will be auctioned are not only important for providing 4G services, but they will also be used for providing the next-generation network service, 5G.
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