Better Priced 5G Spectrum for Telcos?
The official, cited by ET, said that this move is to suggest reserve prices for all spectrum bands recently cleared for 5G trials, in the run up to the next airwaves sale. Notably, the said spectrum bands also include the mmWave (26/28 GHz) and 700 MHz bands. Also, the official said that DoT will ask TRAI to set “a starting price for the 600 MHz sub-GHz band”. Notably, this band has not been auctioned previously.
Notably, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have been pushing the government to auction the super-efficient mmWave bands. The telcos claim that without these bands, 5G will become unaffordable and will push the rollout back by at least a year.
TRAI can also reduce the price of 700 MHz band, which has gone unsold for 2 auctions in a row. The telcos warned that if the price remains the same, the band will go unsold for the third time in a row. Also, DoT is looking for a pricing reworking of mid-band 5G spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz bands, as the pricing is still from August 2018.
What is happening with 5G in India?
After the government accepted applications for 5G Trials in the country, it gave experimental airwaves to the telcos. These bands include mid-band (3.2-3.67 GHz), sub-GHz (700/800 MHz) and mmWave bands (26-28 GHz). However, the government has only earmarked mid-band spectrum for 5G spectrum auction and services. DoT will recommend including mmWaves in the upcoming auction to the telecom regulator. This which result in a diverse portfolio of spectrum to choose from for telcos.
Also, DoT will also expedite updating the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP-2021) to include all 5G bands cleared for trials. This move will bring the 5G spectrum auction closer to later this year than early next year.
However, DoT has not yet scheduled the next sale.