Regulators

TRAI to begin groundwork on next spectrum auction, TSPs not too keen yet

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NEW DELHI: Although the Telecom Regulatory Authority will work on the request received from the Department of Telecom for suggesting at a reserve price for 5G spectrum, it is unlikely that the auction would take place over the next six months.

A TRAI source, confirming that the DoT was keen to auction 3400 to 3600 MHz which is used for 5G apart from the unsold spectrum from the last e-auction, said that telecom companies at present were not too keen to invest in fresh spectrum as they claimed to have incurred huge losses in the third quarter of 2016-17.

The government is also keen to sell the 700 MHz band, which remained unsold in the last auction due to its high base price of Rs 114.75 billion per unit.

TRAI has been asked to set the reserve price for airwaves in the 4G bands of 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz, and for spectrum in the 3400 MHz to 3600 MHz bands that are used for 5G services.

The 5G airwaves are expected to be used for services like machine-to-machine communication, Internet of Things and even connected smart cities.

Though consultations may be held soon with stakeholders, the Cellular Operators Association of India has said auctions should not be held before 2018.

Around 2354.55 MHz of spectrum was put on sale in 2016, but the government managed to earn just around Rs 65,789 billion from 965 MHz, mainly in the 1800 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.

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