The department of telecommunications (DoT) will in a month seek fresh recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to conduct the next 5G spectrum auction in the upcoming financial year. The consultation will be around spectrum pricing, quantum of spectrum to be auctioned, introduction of new spectrum bands etc, sources in the government told Fe.
“Currently, a committee of the wireless planning and coordination (WPC) wing at DoT is deliberating over opening new spectrum bands. Once the committee completes its discussions, Trai’s recommendations will be sought,” a government source said, adding that the auction will also include 4G spectrum and unsold 5G spectrum.
Further, allocation for spectrum in E & V band will also be included in Trai’s recommendations on next spectrum auctions, sources said. Spectrum in the E & V band is crucial for providing high-speed internet in rural areas. In absence of tower fiberisation, the E & V band also helps in providing network backhaul requirements to telecom operators. At present, the government has provisionally allocated the E & V band to the telecom companies to support them with 5G launch.
“It is expected that the next spectrum auction will happen in the upcoming financial year (FY24). However, the government will move ahead based on the demand from telcos as there is no point in conducting a failed auction,” another government source said.
The government will consult the telecom operators and seek their stance on when they want the next auction to be conducted, the source added.
According to industry sources, the government is currently analyzing the new spectrum bands in the range of 3700-4200 MHz and 4700-4800 MHz.
Currently, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are the two telecom operators which have started rolling out 5G services.
“Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) have started providing 5G services in the country from 01.10.2022 onwards and as of 26.11.2022, 5G services have started in 50 towns,” communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in a reply to Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
In August, the government concluded the first ever 5G spectrum auction and sold spectrum worth Rs 1.5 trillion to telecom operators. Out of the 72,098 MHz of spectrum on auction, 29% of spectrum or 20,861.8 MHz spectrum was unsold.
The spectrum in the 3,300 MHz band got the highest bids worth Rs 80,590 crore, followed by 700 MHz band at Rs 39,720 crore and the 26 GHz millimetre band at Rs 14,709 crore.