Telecom Panel Asks TRAI To Review Recommendations On 5G Spectrum Sale

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  • Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said India would hold an auction for 5G spectrum and other bands this year
  • Trai is expected to revert with its review, which also includes putting the available spectrum for sale, in a month
  • Airwaves in the 3,300-3,600 MHz 5G band will be auctioned in the block size of 20 MHz

The Digital Communications Commission, the highest decision-making body in the telecom sector, on Thursday asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to review its recommendations on 5G spectrum sale, scheduled to take place in the calendar year to auction 8,644 MHz of airwaves, and make available a higher amount of spectrum, besides approving the rollout of airwaves for 5G trials in 100 days.

Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan told reporters that Trai should revisit the recommendations to see whether they are in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy objectives of Digital India, broadband for all, and proliferation of 5G. 

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The Commission comprises senior officials of the NITI Aayog, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Electronics and IT, besides the Department of Telecom. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said India would hold an auction for 5G spectrum and other bands this year.

Going forward
The panel asked Trai while reviewing its earlier suggestions, to ensure competition in the sector, given the fact, there is extreme consolidation in the industry. Because of harmonisation the department has released more spectrum, which can be offered for auction.

Trai is expected to revert with its review, which also includes putting the available spectrum for sale, in a month. Trai had recommended a pan-Indian base price of Rs 492 crore per MHz for 5G radiowaves while lowering the base price of frequencies that remained unsold in the 2016 auctions.

Airwaves in the 3,300-3,600 MHz 5G band will be auctioned in the block size of 20 MHz. The reserve price for the premium 700 MHz spectrum, which went unsold in the 2016 auctions, was reduced by more than 40 per cent to Rs 6,568 crore per MHz all-India from Rs 11,485 crore in 2016.

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