Updated: December 3, 2021 7:22:07 am
An empowered group of secretaries of the Central government is likely to meet again this week to deliberate on the issue of high pricing of spectrum, sources in the know of the development said.
The meeting may take place before the monthly meeting of the Digital Communications Commission, the apex decision making body of the telecom ministry.
“Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is also conducting meetings on various issues of 5G spectrum including on pricing and whether the spectrum can be offered as a bundle. All the three players (Vi, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel) have made submissions on why the prices are too high. A final decision might be taken by January-end,” a source said, asking not to be identified.
One of the suggestions, made by the players as well as the industry association, was to cut down the reserve prices “by at least 50-60 per cent” to bring it to realistic levels, given that “a large quantity of spectrum in the recent 4G auction” had remained unsold.
“That auction had come on the back of a judgment which burdened two players. They did not have that financial freedom then. With 5G, it is not an extension of the old technology. It is completely new and will require that level of commitment. So, we will see what best can be done,” one of the sources said.
Earlier, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said 5G spectrum auctions could happen in the second quarter of calender year 2022.
“A reference has been made to Trai for 5G spectrum auctions. They have already started the consultation process. The process should end somewhere in the February-March time frame in the coming year. Then the auction process will be in Q2 of calendar year 2022,” the Minister had said.
In 2018, Trai had recommended the base price of 5G spectrum at Rs 492 crore per MHz of spectrum in the 3,300-3,600MHz bands, which are considered ideal for 5G telecom services owing to their latency.
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