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IMC Day 2: Affordable spectrum a must for 5G services

Telecommunication (telecom) companies have stressed the need for affordable spectrum and a further hike in tariffs as they prepare to roll out 5G services next year.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) estimate, an investment of $60-70 billion would be required to implement 5G services, Vodafone Idea (Vi) Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ravinder Takkar said at the Indian Mobile Congress on Thursday.

Access to adequate low-cost spectrum and easy payment terms are essential for companies to plan their investments; the government must decide on these issues on priority, said Takkar.

“Our focus on leveraging new technologies and partnerships has led us to become the first telecom company in India to develop a wide range of 5G-use cases. We have embraced Cloud for our core network and continue to upgrade our transport and radio networks to cater to the huge traffic demand which will arise from billions of connected devices in the future,” he stated.

Vi CEO said extra steps are needed to make the telecom industry sustainable. These include the sale of spectrum at affordable rates, rationalisation of taxes, and reduction in litigation. On their part, companies need to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU).

Bharti Enterprises Vice-Chairman Akhil Gupta said while the government’s relief measures will provide temporary relief to companies, the recent 20-25 per cent tariff hike is significant and a small step towards sustained financial performance of the sector. The tariff revision is particularly crucial in view of impending investments for 5G services. “For the industry to be secure and stable, we need an ARPU of at least Rs 300 per month,” he added. Business Standard

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