India’s Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave the green light on Thursday to a proposal by the Department of Telecommunications to conduct a spectrum auction.
The propsoed spectrum auction aims to allocate spectrum to successful bidders for the provision of telecom services, with the government asserting that additional spectrum will enhance service quality and coverage for consumers.
According to a statement issued by the government, the spectrum auction will encompass spectrum in various frequency bands including 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz.
The spectrum will be available for assignment with a validity period of 20 years. A total of 10,523.15 MHz of spectrum is being made available, valued at Rs 96,317.65 crore at reserve prices. India Government did not reveal the date for the spectum auction. India will be heading for election within the next 3-4 months.
In August 2022, Government of India had put 72,098 MHz spectrum to auction, of which 51,236 MHz (71 percent of the total) has been sold with bid amounting to Rs 1,50,173 crore. India did not conduct spectrum in 2023.
Additionally, the Cabinet has established a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) tasked with evaluating the re-farming of existing spectrum usages. This initiative aims to increase spectrum availability to meet the future requirements of telecommunication services.
Furthermore, the Cabinet endorsed a proposal addressing the spectrum needs of rail-based urban/regional transit systems such as the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) in the 700 MHz band. This allocation is intended for Automatic Train Protection (ATP) systems and operational purposes.
Highlighting India’s progress in digital technologies, the government emphasized the nation’s reputation for leading advancements in this field. India’s swift rollout of 5G has garnered global recognition, with mobile communication serving as the gateway to realizing a robust and equitable Digital India. Moreover, the government expressed its determination for India to spearhead 6G services, with plans set to materialize over the next five years.