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DoT likely to move 5G spectrum auction proposal to Cabinet next week

The Department of Telecom is likely to move the 5G spectrum auction proposal to the Union Cabinet for final approval next week, an official source said on Tuesday.

The Department of Telecom is likely to move the 5G spectrum auction proposal to the Union Cabinet for final approval next week, an official source said on Tuesday.

The Digital Communications Commission has finalised the base price suggested by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the source, who did not wish to be named, said.

“The DCC has firmed up its view. It’s not a decision making body. It will give recommendation to the Cabinet for final approval of the auction plan. There is no change in the base price that Trai has recommended,” the official said.

Telecom operators have opposed the base price recommended by the regulator Trai. The DCC has decided not to auction spectrum frequency range between 27.5-28.5 gigahertz and leave it for satellite services.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended a base price for this frequency range and suggested that it can be used for both mobiles as well as satellite services.

The regulator in its reply to the DoT last week left it to the government to decide if they want to auction 27.5-28.5 Ghz.

The DCC has also approved Trai recommendation to allow setting up of private wireless or the 5G network for captive use. Trai has mooted a mega auction plan valued at over Rs 7.5 lakh crore at the base price across multiple bands for radiowaves allocated over 30 years.

Overall, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended about a 39 per cent reduction in the reserve or floor price for the sale of spectrum for mobile services, including the latest 5G offering, as it looked to match revenue expectations with the industry’s paying capacity.

The watchdog has recommended a mega auction plan of over Rs 7.5 lakh crore for over 1 lakh megahertz spectrum in case government allocates it for a period of 30 years.

In case of 20 years, the total value of the proposed spectrum auction will stand at around Rs 5.07 lakh crore at the reserve price, according to the back-of-the-envelop calculation.

With large swathes of spectrum remaining unsold in the last two auctions, Trai recommended to the government for selling airwaves in all existing bands of 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz and new slots of 600 MHz, 3300-3670 MHz and 24.25-28.5 Ghz.

It has suggested a lower reserve price for all bands, compared to last recommended prices in 2018.

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