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DoT gearing up for another mega spectrum sale

The telecom division has set the ball rolling for one more mega spectrum sale by sending a reference to the sector regulator, in search of contemporary base costs for the gamut of airwave bands, together with key ones like 700 MHz, 3.3-3.6 GHz and the coveted millimeter waves reminiscent of 26 GHz and 28 GHz that assist 5G know-how.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has additionally sought contemporary base costs for 4G airwave bands reminiscent of 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz, two folks conscious of the matter mentioned. But with the time often taken for the session course of, sources say it might be powerful to fulfill authorities’s public sale timeline of January-February, 2022.

The reference comes at a time when the federal government has acknowledged that prime spectrum pricing is a primary motive behind the acute monetary stress within the debt-laden telecom trade, and can be open to cost rationalisation in public curiosity.

In its reference, the division has sought suggestions from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on the phrases of reference for the subsequent public sale and the quantum of airwaves proposed to be auctioned.

“We have received a detailed reference from DoT about 2-3 days back, seeking our recommendations on spectrum matters and pricing…there are a number of spectrum bands involved, and the Authority is currently examining the reference and will respond to the government,” Trai secretary V Raghunandan informed.

Sector analysts count on the potential annual money move aid stemming from the four-year moratorium allowed on statutory payouts to provide Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio the monetary headroom to take part aggressively within the subsequent spectrum public sale. They, although, do not count on Vodafone Idea (Vi) to take part as strongly if it is unable to shut its a lot delayed Rs 25,000-crore fundraise.

Another official mentioned that Trai might want to search extra particulars from the DoT, earlier than continuing with its evaluation and beginning the session course of.

After a DoT reference, Trai conducts a course of which features a four-week interval for stakeholders to submit their views after a session paper is floated, adopted by two weeks for counter feedback. Then Trai holds open-house discussions earlier than arriving at its suggestions. The entire course of often takes about 4 to 5 months at the very least.

The suggestions are then vetted by DoT’s high-powered wing, the Digital Communications Commission (DCC), which can or could not settle for the strategies. A remaining resolution on spectrum pricing is taken by the Cabinet, primarily based on the DCC’s suggestions.

After that, the DoT points a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) which comprises the ultimate public sale guidelines, and the sale often takes place inside 45 days from when that doc is issued.

Industry executives and analysts say that success of the subsequent auction-that will see the debut of 5G airwaves-hinges on the reducing of base value of airwaves. The final beneficial base value of Rs 492 crore for a unit of 5G spectrum within the 3.3-3.6 Ghz band has been deemed too costly by telcos that defeats the enterprise case of rolling out the next-generation know-how in India.

India’s Big Three telcos-Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea-have been pushing the federal government to public sale the super-efficient mmWave bands, with out which, they declare, 5G providers will not be inexpensive for shoppers in India. They have additionally urged the sector regulator to reset the bottom value of airwaves within the coveted however dear 700 Mhz band. TGI

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