Telecom regulator TRAI has rejected the demand of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to reduce spectrum reserve prices in India.
India is aiming to conduct auction for selling spectrum for rolling out 4G and 5G services across the country. BSNL, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio are planning to make investment in both 4G and 5G network infrastructure.
The base price for the 700 MHz spectrum band – for 4G services — will be Rs 6,568 crore per MHz and 3,300-3,600 MHz band – for 5G services — will cost Rs 492 crore per MHz. India Government can make changes to spectrum reserve prices recommended by TRAI.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in a letter to DoT said the Authority reiterates the spectrum valuation and reserve prices as contained in its recommendations dated August 1, 2018.
TRAI fixed the base price for the 700 MHz spectrum band at Rs 6,568 crore per MHz as compared with Rs 11,485 crore during the 2016-17 auction.
DoT in its July 1 letter requested TRAI to revise the reserve spectrum prices, especially that of 700 MHz, considering the current condition of the telecom industry.
TRAI has agreed to DoT’s demand to offer no rollout obligations for spectrum in the 3,300-3,600 MHz band. TRAI has also suggested a lock-in period of two years for the 5G band, against the five years suggested earlier.
TRAI earlier suggested auctioning the 3,300-3,600 MHz band as a single band and in blocks of 20 MHz each at Rs 492 crore per MHz. The latest development indicates that TRAI does not want to revise 5G spectrum prices.
TRAI also said DoT may explore allocating 25 MHz (3400 to 3425 MHz) for industrial use. This spectrum can be used by enterprise, start-ups, and industries for captive use such as dedicated network, autonomous network, industrial automation with 5G technology etc., as has recently been done in Germany.
TRAI has also recommended that the minimum amount of spectrum that an existing operator is required to bid in 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands may be revised downwards from 0.6 MHz to 0.2 MHz.
TRAI has also recommended that if DoT decides that the 25 MHz (3400-3425 MHz) cannot be assigned to the TSPs because of potential interference, the block size for 3300- 3600 MHz band may be kept as 5 MHz, in place of earlier recommended 20 MHz.