Spectrum auction to be held next year: TRAI

Spectrum auction to be held next year: TRAI

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The Centre on Friday decided to hold the spectrum auction in March/April without making any change in reserve pricing fixed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The Digital Communications Commission, the highest decision-making body of the Department of Telecom ( DOT), approved the sale of over 8300 MHz of spectrum in all 22 telecom circles. The reserve price of the radio waves will be Rs 5.22 lakh crore, Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash told reporters here.

Ruling out lowering the spectrum base price, he said TRAI recommendation will be followed without any change.  Not lowering the base price is a set back to telecom firms who have been demanding cheap spectrum due to financial stress in the industry.

Out of the 8,300 MHz spectrum put on the auctions, 6,050 MHz would be available for 5G.

In August last year, the TRAI suggested Rs 492 crore per megahertz for 3,300-3,600 MHz band, which is a primary band for 5G services.

The government expecting high hope on rolling out 5G services as it would have higher data speeds and hops to bring changes agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and education.

To a question on a response from the industry, Prakash said, the government expect good participation in the auction with a lot of spectrum available."

According to Prakash, successful bidders will have to pay 25 % of the amount upfront for sub 1 GHz, and 50 % upfront for higher frequency bands.

Installment will be spread over a period of 16 years. There will be a two-year moratorium for payment after the upfront amount is given. This means that instalment will have to be paid from the third year, in 16 annual instalments.

The telecom regulator in August 2018 had suggested the auctioning of spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300-3400 MHz, 3400-3600MHz bands.

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