The 5G spectrum auctions will “most probably” be held in February 2022, and the government may even try for a January timeline, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday.
Speaking to PTI, Vaishnaw said that the telecom reforms package cleared by the Cabinet is adequate for the survival of existing players, and added that with more reforms, and more structural changes, that are in the pipeline, “more players should come”.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a blockbuster relief package for the stressed telecom sector that includes a four-year break for companies from paying statutory dues, permission to share scarce airwaves, change in the definition of revenue on which levies are paid and 100 per cent foreign investment through the automatic route.
“Today’s reform package is good enough for ensuring competition, definitely it is good enough for survival of the players and making sure this is a healthy sector where competition stays robust…I honestly believe once we do a little bit of more changes that are there in pipeline, more players will come,” Vaishnaw said.
“We do not intend to stop,” the minister said underlining the government’s firm resolve to push ahead with reforms, in order to ensure robust health of the telecom sector.
The telecom minister further said he had spoken to all the key players in the sector after Wednesday’s briefing, and that the companies are happy with the broad set of measures that have been announced.
“All the three big players feel that this was absolutely what was needed,” the minister said.
Asked about the 5G spectrum auction timelines, the minister said it will be held during the last quarter of this fiscal. “Most probably February of 2022…I think by January also, we can try,” Vaishnaw said.