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India’s 5G auctions may be pushed to next year: Report

“It is unlikely that auctions will happen this year and will get postponed. The focus currently is on keeping networks stable,” a senior government official said.

May 06, 2021 / 01:24 PM IST
The DoT gave Telecom Service Providers permission for trials for use and applications of 5G technology on May 4.

The DoT gave Telecom Service Providers permission for trials for use and applications of 5G technology on May 4.

India is likely to push 5G auctions till the end of the year. The delays are due to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and because decisions on spectrum and pricing in India are still pending.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is “currently preoccupied” with ensuring network stability amid the coronavirus pandemic and is awaiting decisions on spectrum availability and pricing, sources told The Economic Times.

“It is unlikely that auctions will happen this year and will get postponed. The focus currently is on keeping networks stable,” a senior government official told the paper. Meanwhile, industry sources said they expect the sale between January and March 2022.

Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.

Another official said there is “no pressing need for early stage sale” and pointed out that trials for use and applications of 5G technology have just started and will continue for at least six months. DoT gave Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) permission for trials on May 4.

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The six-month trial period includes a two-month period for procurement and setting up of the equipment, as per an official statement.

Officials also noted that the trial period could be extended “depending on the progress made”, in which case the 5G auctions “may be pushed further”.

“There is a possibility that telecom companies (telcos) ask for more time for 5G trials, especially for the indigenously developed 5Gi technology,” one of the officials added.

Officials and industry executives also pointed out operational issues such as pricing of the 700 MHz spectrum band and consideration of telcos demand to auction the 26-28 GHz millimetre waves so as to make the service more affordable “need sorting out”, the report added.

So far, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has set aside spectrum only in the 3.3-3.6 GHz bands for 5G services and pegged based price for 5G airwaves at Rs 492 crore/unit – which telcos say is “too high and would not find any buyers”.

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Moneycontrol News
first published: May 6, 2021 12:57 pm

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