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Govt will conduct spectrum auctions soon, 5G roll-out by year end

Spectrum auctions will be conducted very soon, and the next-generation 5G services are expected to commence before the end of the year, Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

Replying to a supplementary question during Question Hour, Chauhan also said that the four companies have been allotted spectrum for conducting trials and added that the trials are expected to be completed soon.

In parallel, the minister said that the telecom regulator TRAI has also been asked to give its recommendations related to the upcoming auction.

“We will conduct auctions very soon. By the end of this year, we will start 5G services in the country,” he said.

He also asserted that state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will begin its 4G services this year.

The minister said that a “great revolution” has taken place in the telecom sector over the last seven years and that data consumption has soared while tariffs are at the lowest.

There is a robust public grievance mechanism in place and complaints pending for over 48 hours are escalated to senior officials, Chauhan said.

The government has taken a slew of measures to revive telecom PSUs BSNL and MTNL.

The quality of BSNL services will also improve with the launch of the state-owned corporation’s 4G services, he asserted.

Chauhan also outlined the reforms undertaken by the government in the telecom sector and cites measures like re-definition of AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue).

In a written reply, Communication Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “There is no decline in the number of mobile subscribers in the country in the year 2020-21.”

As per the monthly Telecom Subscription Data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the number of mobile subscribers in India increased from 1,157.75 million in March 2020 to 1,180.96 million in March 2021.

To improve the Quality of Service (QoS), he said drive test and Radio Frequency (RF) optimization are carried out regularly by mobile service providers.

“Further in order to provide state-of-the-art and prompt service to mobile customers, service providers optimally manage the increasing traffic by way of adding more number of sites, providing fibre backhaul, using small cells and undertaking network optimization,” Vaishnaw said.

Moreover, TRAI has issued guidelines and set various parameters & benchmarks to monitor QoS.

These parameters are assessed for the entire license service area on a quarterly basis.

For ensuring compliance with the QoS benchmarks and to protect the interests of the consumers, TRAI has prescribed the system of financial disincentives for non-compliance with the benchmarks, Vaishnaw said. PTI

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