TRAI to issue a consultation paper on 5G spectrum auction within 15 days

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is expected to commence the consultation processes on the spectrum prices for various telecommunication frequencies. The Department of Telecom (DoT) has requested TRAI to give out their views on the current frequency charges including the premium airwaves in the 700MHz band that was not sold in the last auctions conducted last year.

The consultation paper will be issued in the next 15 days according to the telecom regulator, TRAI. The DoT has also sought the opinions of TRAI on the 5G services that are expected to improve the speed of data transfer. According to the Chairman of TRAI, R S Sharma, the consultation process takes at least a minimum of six months period for the recommendations to be ready.

The government is looking forward to making the spectrum auction an annual event and this will only happen after the sectoral regulator has given their recommendations on the matter. The government will take action once the regulator has given out their views. TRAI stated that it was not worried about the low demand for the spectrum; they are more interested in giving the investors an opportunity to acquire the spectrum. Since the talks are still underway, the government is not in a position to reduce the spectrum prices.

The spectrum prices have brought some controversies in India and what was paid earlier in the last 2-4 auctions is not sustainable to allow for low-value propositions to the end users. The industry experts complained that the government is demanding huge amounts of money upfront compromising on the roll-out and investment of the proposed network. If the auctions will not yield the desired outcomes, the government will be forced to bring down their prices.

The next auction will be held between July and December this year, according to the DoT plans and this will become first by a comprehensive policy on how the variety of spectrum will be used including the backhaul, the 5G spectrum, and access.

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