The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to hold another spectrum auction in early 2016, with frequencies in the 2G, 3G and 4G bands due to go on sale. The Economic Times quotes a senior DoT official as saying that it has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) seeking reserve prices for spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2500MHz bands. The spectrum on offer will consist of airwaves left unsold in previous tenders as well as concessions due to expire in 2017 and the remaining 2100MHz frequencies currently held by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The DoT is also considering auctioning 30MHz of pan-India spectrum in the 700MHz range, but will first assess industry demand for the airwaves. The DoT official noted that the 700MHz frequencies would have the highest reserve price, but added that: ‘We don’t want to sell the bandwidth if they aren’t ready to buy it.’ The costs of recent spectrum auctions have put a strain on operators’ finances, the most recent sale in March 2015 setting providers back by more than INR1 trillion (USD15.57 billion).