Spectrum auction likely in early June, says Ashwini Vaishnaw

Spectrum auction likely in early June says Ashwini Vaishnaw

The government is likely to hold 5G spectrum auction in early June, telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday.

The minister said that the Department of Telecom is working as per expected timeline and the process is on to resolve industry concerns around spectrum pricing.

Asked about the schedule of the spectrum auction, Vaishnaw said that it is expected to be in early June.

The minister said that the roll out of 5G services in the country will begin by August-September.

Setting the stage for the rollout of 5G services, telecom regulator Trai has mooted a mega auction plan valued at over Rs 7.5 lakh crore at the base price across multiple bands for radio waves allocated over 30 years.

“We are very much as per our timeline to conduct the auction,” Vaishnaw said.

The minister said that the Digital Communications Commission will take a call on Trai recommendations and approach them for clarification.

The watchdog has recommended a mega auction plan of over Rs 7.5 lakh crore for over 1 lakh megahertz spectrum in case the government allocates it for a period of 30 years.

In case of 20 years, the total value of the proposed spectrum auction will stand at around Rs 5.07 lakh crore at the reserve price, according to the back-of-the-envelope calculation.

While Trai has reduced spectrum price by about 39 per cent compared to last price, telecom operators have said that the recommended rates are higher than global benchmarks.

“We will think over this issue (industry concern on spectrum pricing) in a systematic manner. World over it has been accepted that spectrum is a public good and is a necessity for development. Based on this principle we will discuss this issue,” Vaishnaw said.

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He said that the DCC will take a call on the matter in 5-6 days and then the matter will be sent to Trai for their reference.

The minister said that the DoT is simultaneously working on the notice inviting application.

The minister said that the family in rural and remote need to be connected for which industry has to be healthy and spectrum has to be reasonably priced to provide affordable telecom services.