Telecom spectrum auction to be held this year: Prasad

Telecom spectrum auction to be held this year: Prasad

The Minister, who took charge here, told reporters that among his priorities would be the  revival of state-owned MTNL and BSNL. He, however, asserted that the telecom corporations will have to respond with professionalism and cooperation. (PTI File Photo)

Newly-appointed Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that the Government will hold spectrum auction for 5G and other bands in the current calendar year.

The Minister, who took charge here, told reporters that among his priorities would be the revival of state-owned MTNL and BSNL. He, however, asserted that the telecom corporations will have to respond with professionalism and cooperation.

He set a deadline of 100 days to begin 5G trials in India, expedite the installation of five lakh WiFi hotspots, and promoting telecom manufacturing under Make in India programme, setting up National Fibre Authority and launching the National Broadband Mission.

On the question on allowing Huawei to participate in 5G trials in India, the Minister said: “Participation in 5G is not conditional once the trial is started. Whether a company is allowed to participate or not is a complex question including security issues."

“We will try to take long term view of the telecom sector issues and address in the long-term interest of the sector,” he said.

In telecom industry on the brink of financial distress, yet rolling up its sleeves for 5G play in the global arena, Prasad's top priorities will be to find ways and means to set the sector back to its growth trajectory.

As the telecom minister in the first half of the previous Modi government, Prasad led successful auction of telecom spectrum. Reviving of the state-run telecom firms will be the biggest challenge to make it more competitive in the market.

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