Telecom operators demand cost effective 5G spectrum at IMC 2019

Indian telecom operators – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio — have shared their demands at the India Mobile Congress (IMC) 2019.
India Mobile Congress 2019 inauguration
IMC did not have the presence of Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal and Reliance Jio chairman Mukesh Ambani during the largest telecom event in India. Most of the telecom equipment makers participated.

India’s Communications and Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government was working on to review the pricing of reserve prices for 5G spectrum for upcoming auctions.

The minister assured that the spectrum auctions will happen during the financial year (before March 31, 2020).

“Spectrum auctions will happen within this financial year. We are working on the pricing of spectrum. We are in the process of reforms for spectrum pricing,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Bharti Enterprises vice chairman Rakesh Bharti Mittal said high spectrum price and cost of deploying networks are expected to take a toll on debt-ridden telecom sector. 75 percent of cost of deploying optical fibre in the country for high speed broadband is the fees charged by local authorities, Rakesh Mittal said.

Currently average revenue per user in telecom sector in India is around $1.5 compared to $36 in the US and $6.5 in China.

“In spite of that, Capex spent of India operator is the same, at par with what global telcos are spending. Indian operators spend 34 percent of revenue on Capex. Airtel last year spent 40 percent of total revenue in Capex deployment,” Rakesh Mittal said. Globally, the average Capex spending is sub-20 percent.

Rakesh Mittal said India needs to settle about Rs 1 lakh crore worth of litigation. GST credit needs to be unlocked.

Reliance Jio said a clear roadmap for spectrum allocation would establish India as a leader in the 5G space. India government should look at the prices of 5G waves, said Mahendra Nahata, board member of Reliance Jio.

“The price of 5G spectrum needs to be relooked at. Higher prices will lead to 5G networks being unviable and getting delayed,” Mahendra Nahata said.

India government should put in place policy measures to promote developers, application service providers, network equipment manufacturers and handset makers.

Vodafone Idea chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said a thriving telecom sector was vital for building a new digital India, and asked Government to ensure an enabling regulatory environment.


Huawei announced the first in India deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) based Massive MIMO optimization technology in the Vodafone Idea network. AI enabled Massive MIMO enables Vodafone Idea to add automation capabilities to its network, improving optimization efficiency, boosting cell capacity and enhancing end-user experience of the network.

Huawei also demonstrated 5G + AI applications to empower operators and industries to lead in the 5G era and boost Digital India.


Intel showcased solutions on telco cloud, smart space, intelligent traffic management, 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) based on Intel architecture. Rajesh Gadiyar, vice president, Data Center Group, and CTO, Network & Custom Logic Group for Intel participated in a panel discussion.


VVDN is working to deliver 5G acceleration solutions that will implement the complex modules of 5G infrastructure. VVDN has partnered with Xilinx to accelerate the solutions in FPGA.


HFCL launched Wi-Fi Technology products and solutions under its Brand – IO that shall meet the global and Indian Wi-Fi network demand.

Bharti Airtel

Bharti Airtel showcased digital solutions for businesses and consumers at the India Mobile Congress 2019. Airtel demonstrated use cases and applications that leverage 5G and pre-5G network technologies.