Four applicants for 5G auction; DoT updates procurement rules

12 Jul 2022

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has published the list of applicants for the upcoming multi-band 5G spectrum auction, due to take place at the end of this month. Four companies have applied to participate in the tender, the three incumbent privately-owned cellcos – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea (Vi) and Relance Jio Infocomm (Jio) – and infrastructure Adani Data Networks, part of Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises.

In a related development, meanwhile, the DoT has updated the phrasing of rules regarding equipment procurement to ensure that only so-called ‘Trusted Products’ or gear approved by the regulator is used for the expansion of existing networks. Previously, the rules had specified that licensees must seek permission from the regulator to upgrade existing networks using equipment that is not from a trusted vendor, but the new wording makes it clear that operators must also seek approval for network expansion works. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the DoT issued a series of licence amendments in March 2021 to limit the vendors that could provide equipment for telecommunications networks, citing national security concerns. Those measures were introduced amidst escalating tensions between New Delhi and Beijing and were primarily intended to prevent operators from purchasing equipment from Chinese vendors such as Huawei and ZTE.