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With 5G auctions over, path ahead

Once the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) receives payment, it will immediately allocate frequencies to the mobile operators. Currently, the DoT is carrying out a spectrum harmonisation (reorganisation) exercise to provide continuous airwaves to enable better services. This will be completed by the time payments are made, the secretary said.

The first tranche of payment is expected to be Rs 13,500 crore to be paid the over next 10 days. Reliance Jio’s is expected to pay Rs 7,838 crore, Bharti Airtel’s will be Rs 3,834 crore, Vodafone Idea’s Rs 1,673 crore and Adani Data Networks its entire bid amount of Rs 212 crore. Telcos have the options of either paying up in 20 equal annual instalments or making a greater upfront payment followed by annual instalments.

The government expects 5G services to be rolled out gradually from September-October with pan India coverage to be completed in two-three years, backed by investments of around Rs 2-3 lakh crore. Initially, 5G networks are likely to be launched in metros and category A circles that have high paying power, followed by smaller cities and towns.

E-band. DoT will next ask TRAI to review its 2014 recommendations of allocating the E-band (in 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz ranges) spectrum without auctions, and also for the mmWave band spectrum.

CT Bureau

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