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TRAI seeks submission by February 15 on 5G auction

Telecom operators and satellite players remained sharply divided at open house discussion held by the sector regular TRAI on rules for allocation of spectrum for 5G services in the auction planned to be held this year.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked companies and other interested parties to provide their additional submission before February 15, especially with details around methods for valuation of the spectrum.

TRAI had earlier recommended base price of proposed 5G spectrum in 3,300-3,600 Mhz band at about Rs 492 crore per Mhz unpaired spectrum on pan-India basis. Telecom operators interested in buying radiowaves for 5G will have to shell out a minimum of Rs 9,840 crore on pan-India basis to buy spectrum in the 3,300-3,600 Mhz band. If the telecom operators’ demands are met then the medium band spectrum should cost them only Rs 492 crore at the base price.

Reliance Jio Infocomm President Ravi Gandhi and Bharti Airtel chief regulatory officer Rahul Vatts and COAI deputy director general Vikram Tiwathia suggested that the regulator should fix the base price of 5G spectrum in mid-band and high frequency band using international benchmarks.

Telecom operators suggested TRAI to map international pricing benchmarks at telecom circle level by using a matrix of average revenue per user, GDP of the country etc.

Gandhi said that the base price of spectrum in higher frequency bands of 24.5 Ghz to 29.5 Ghz should be fixed at 1 per cent of the base price of the mid-frequency band.

Telecom operators demanded that E and V band spectrum, which is considered to match data transmission speed as that of optical fibres, should be also auctioned along with other frequency bands.

Satellite players opposed telecom operators’ demand to auction a high frequency range of 27.5-28.5 Ghz.

Indian Space Association Director General AK Bhatt said that as per global practice, 27.5-28.5 Ghz have not been auctioned and in India also should be allocated administratively.

Satellite company Inmarsat India Managing Director Gautam Sharma said the company is providing in-flight services and maritime connectivity to 500 vessels in the 28 Ghz and allocation of this frequency will adversely impact the company’s operation. MillenniumPost

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