The minister of state for communications, Devusinh Chauhan, in a statement on Wednesday at Lok Sabha, said that telecom companies have called on the government for easier 5G spectrum payment terms in the upcoming spectrum auction. In a response to a query in the parliament, the minister stated that some of the TSPs have represented seeking easier payment terms for the 5G spectrum. The CEO of Airtel Gopal Vittal as well as MD of Vodafone Idea Ravinder Takkar have recently talked about the need for 5G spectrum pricing to be reasonable.
The Current Scenario
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is all set to submit its long-awaited recommendations around the working of the 5G spectrum auction and its pricing in about 10 days’ time as informed by a prominent TRAI official. The government has asked the telecom regulator to submit the recommendations by March 31 so that the auction process can be commenced in May or June 2022. This would allow the government to roll out the initial services based on the next-gen technology by August 15 which is India’s Independence Day.
The minister further informed that the rollout of 5G mobile services by telcos is likely in FY23 although it will also depend on their techno-commercial considerations given the size of investments in such next-gen technology. The government has earmarked a mix of mid-band airwaves in the 3.3-3.67 GHz range, millimetre waves (26/28 GHz) and key sub-GHz bands such as 600 MHz and 700 MHz for 5G services.
Recently, the Chief Technology Officer of Bharti Airtel Randeep Sekhon had made an appeal to the telecom regulatory authority of India for the affordable pricing of the 5G airwaves. Sekhon talked about the important role of pricing of the 5G radio waves. He informed that the expensive spectrum will result in limited cash flow with the telcos after the payment. However, he added that with reasonable pricing the operator will bring the same money on increasing footprint faster. 5G will not only promote immersive entertainment, industrial use cases, unlock new avenues in education and other areas but will also provide high-speed mobile connectivity.