The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has finished taking consultation from global experts regarding the pricing of 5G spectrum and is now readying recommendations to send to government, a top official informed. Trai Chairman, RS Sharma also spoke to ET on the matter and said “Trai has already consulted international experts. We are more or less ready with the auction recommendations, and are coming up with it soon.” Likely, Sharma’s departure from Trai might have sped up the process of drafting recommendations as now the officials may try to push proposals for base prices before Sharma leaves office on August 9.
Previously, after seeing the scenario in 2016 where the spectrum went unsold because of high pricing, Trai now deemed it fit to seek consultation from telecom experts worldwide to decide correct base price for 5G airwaves in 3300-3400 MHz and 3400-3600 MHz bands, which will be put up for auction for the very first time in the country. Also, airwaves in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz band will also be put up for auction, which will be used for 4G.
Sharma also spoke on the matter “The issue is that there are bands to be auctioned for the first time and that creates a challenge.”
Broadband India Forum, another industry body, has said that the government should put up the premium radiowaves in 700 MHz and 850 MHz bands up for allocation for 5G technology.
It was in August 2017, when the DoT sought the watchdog’s recommendations on the pricing of the 5G spectrum in the upcoming auctions. However, the telecom operators of the country are of the mind to stall the sales for future citing reasons such as financially distressed industry and underdeveloped smartphone industry along with non-support of 5G in handsets.
The government is of the different opinion as it wants to roll out the 5G technology in India side by side other countries, in sync with the global rollout. The centre has also drafted a new telecom policy for the same.
Speaking of other nations, UK is the only one which has already conducted the auction for 5G airwaves. £1.4 billion was spent by the operators in the UK to acquire 5G spectrum earlier this year. Among many, Vodafone took the 50 MHz spectrum in the 3.4 GHz frequency band by paying £378 million, and BT-owned EE got its hand on 40 MHz by spending £303 million.
On the other hand, The US and South Korea plan to sell 5G spectrum later this year. Germany has plans of selling 5G spectrum in 2019, and Canada intends to do it in 2020.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.