The Department of Telecommunications held its pre-bid conference yesterday as scheduled.
Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vodafone Idea put forward their concerns, the one main being the government’s decision to allow enterprises to acquire spectrum directly from the government to set up captive non-public networks.
Now that the announcement has been made by the Union Cabinet, the telcos requested that the methodology of allotting spectrum to non-telcos, the price at which this spectrum will be made available and the bands of spectrum be spelled out.
In line with the COAI letter that followed the announcement, the telcos asked how DoT would differentiate between private and public networks, and requested for distinct criteria.
The telcos were unanimous in that the allotted spectrum should be used for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications only, and not to set up private networks in areas that may be deemed public.
Other points raised by the telcos were:
- Clarification on the modality of spectrum to be allotted to BSNL.
- Clarifications in NIA on the earnest money deposit requirement and roll-out obligations.
- Clarification on the internet browser to be used for the auction process, since the NIA specified the auction would take place using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (since it was shut down globally on June 16).
- On electromagnetic frequency regulations ( since tower density in the country will increase on account of 5G roll-out, and there may be challenges to setting up new towers).
The last date for submissions of applications for bids is on July 8, post which the DoT will publish the ownership details of applicants on July 12. The final list of bidders will go live on July 20 and there will be mock auctions on July 22 and July 23. The auction of 5G airwaves will begin on 26th July, 2022.