Indian 5G auction due before year-end

4 Jun 2019

India’s new telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has confirmed that the planned spectrum auction would take place within the current calendar year, the Economic Times reports. The official also stated that 5G trials would begin within the next 100 days, and listed the revival of struggling state-owned telcos Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) amongst his top priorities.

Regarding the spectrum sale, the tender is expected to see more than 8,200MHz of frequencies made available across the 700MHz, 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2300MHz, 2500MHz and 3400MHz-3600MHz ranges including 4G and 5G-compatible airwaves. However, with the exception of newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio), the nation’s cellcos have been critical of the proposed pricing for the spectrum, with senior officials from Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel both describing the cost of 5G frequencies as ‘exorbitant’.