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5G Spectrum May Find More Buyers If Reserve Price Is Reduced

India’s telecom regulator may get more operators on board if 5G spectrum prices are offered at a third of their reserve price, according to Rajiv Sharma of SBICAP Securities.

“The prices really have to drop as only 40 percent of the spectrum put on sale got sold in the previous auction,” the co-head of institutional equity research at the fund house told BloombergQuint in an interaction. “5G is not just about the auction but incremental towers and huge technological investments in fibre backhaul.”

Agreed Sanjay Kapoor, a telecom industry expert and former chief executive officer of Bharti Airtel Ltd., who said the technology is a “low-appetite game” as of now. A full-fledged roll-out may happen only in the next three-four years as the industry is already grappling with challenges such as low tariffs and network issues associated with 4G connections, he told BloombergQuint in a separate interaction.

“Investing heavily behind 5G is not easy. Operators who have invested (in 5G) in Japan, South Korea and the U.S. are still testing the waters. So it will take time for India to be 5G ready. And, given our balance sheets being weak, it will take longer than rest of the world.”―Sanjay Kapoor, Telecom Industry Expert

5G Spectrum May Find More Buyers If Reserve Price Is Reduced, Say Experts

India has proposed to hold spectrum auctions for 5G and other bands in 2019. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in June starting 5G trials within 100 days was one of his ministry’s top priorities. The reserve price fixed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is $70 million per megahertz.―Bloomberg Quint

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