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DoT to send reference to TRAI for next spectrum auction

The Department of Telecom is likely to approach sector regulator TRAI this week for auction of a set of spectrum bands as well as radio waves held by permits that are due to expire in 2024, an official source said.

The source said that DoT is expected to hold the auction in the March quarter of the current fiscal. ”DoT will send reference to TRAI in a couple of days for auction of 37 GHz band and radio waves of telecom licenses that are due for renewal in 2024,” the source told PTI on condition of anonymity.

The reference is likely to include the auction of spectrum in 600 megahertz band as well as the frequency that remained unsold in the auction held in 2022. The government had put on offer spectrum in 10 bands but received no bids for airwaves in 600 MHz, 800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands.

About two-thirds of the bids were for the 5G bands (3300 Mhz and 26 GHz), while more than a quarter of the demand came in the 700 Mhz band — a band that had gone unsold in the previous two auctions (2016 and 2021). DoT expects TRAI to recommend auction guidelines for the satellite communication spectrum soon so that it can be included in the auction planned for the March quarter.

However, only one satellite communication player has demanded the allocation of spectrum administratively instead of taking the auction route. According to the source, some of the licenses of Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are set to expire in 2024 and spectrum held through these permits will also be put for auction in the March quarter.

”DoT will be able to conduct auction if TRAI’s recommendation is received by January,” the source said. PTI

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