India, which is the world’s second largest telecom market, plans to roll out 5G mobile services by 2022-23 by telecom providers and preparatory work for spectrum auction in 2022 has already started.
According to Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, in a report by The Hindu newspaper, India’s 5G spectrum auction is proceeding as planned, despite telecom operators and their lobby groups worrying about high prices.
“TRAI’s recommended spectrum pricing is too high. The industry has recommended a 90% lower price, and to only see a reduction of around 35-40% recommended in prices, is therefore deeply disappointing,” said industry group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI ) in reaction to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) 5G spectrum auction recommendations.
Vaishnaw thinks the 5G service rollout will take place in August or September, which seems a little optimistic given that telecom companies have said in the past that they would need six months from the spectrum auction. to deploy their 5G services.
That being said, given that telecom operators have been given an extended time – most recently, until May 2022 – to test their 5G networks, there may be opportunities for them to accelerate the commercial deployment of 5G. Or, as Jio has done in the past with beta testing of its 4G-only network, telcos could roll out 5G services in a limited way before a wider commercial rollout.
The government’s willingness to roll out 5G services is evident with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during her budget speech, announcing that 5G mobile services would be rolled out by 2022-2023.
“All major telecom companies including Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vi are testing their 5G networks in different trials. The government is also discussing with telecom operators and other stakeholders the spectrum auctions that will be undertaken this year,” she said.
This has opened up opportunities for collaboration with like-minded partners, including Australia and Japan. India had previously shunned intense efforts by China to explore the introduction of 5G as it would have compromised India’s privacy and security.
In recent communications, telecommunications industry watchdog TRAI has detailed its plan to auction around Rs 7.5 million worth of radio waves across multiple bands.
The TRAI in this mega auction has planned to auction spectrum bands All available spectrum in existing bands viz. 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz and new spectrum bands viz. 600 MHz, 3300-3670 MHz and 24.25-28.5 GHz will be auctioned.
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