A senior DoT official said he expects the next auction, which will feature 5G airwaves, to be held early next year. This will enable the government to receive upfront payment in the ongoing fiscal which ends March 31, 2022.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had in 2018 set a base price for the 3300-3750 Mhz band. But telcos had found that price too high and they hope that the DoT’s reference back to the regulator will lead to lower starting rates. They also also want additional quantities of spectrum across more 5G bands, a demand which is likely to be met by the DoT. “Trai will be asked to give a base price for all the spectrum available with the DoT, including the airwaves in the 5G band of 3300-3750 Mhz band for which Trai had given a base price in 2018,” the official told ET. He added that along with 3300-3750 Mhz band — popularly called the midband — DoT will seek base prices for the 600 Mhz and 700 Mhz bands, known as sub-GHz bands, as well as the 2425-2850 Mhz band, called millimetre waves. All these can be used for 5G services.
After the reference is sent, Trai will conduct a consultation process before recommending its base price for the bands. DoT’s Digital Communications Commission (DCC), may or may not accept these recommendations. The final decision on pricing is taken by the Cabinet, basis the DCC’s recommendations.
The 600 MHz band and the millimetre waves will be on offer for the first time.