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Cabinet Approves 5G Auction; 72 GHz Spectrum to Be Put on Block by July-End

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The Union Cabinet has approved the auction of the 5G spectrum. The government in a statement on Wednesday stated that the 5G services will be rolled out soon and that over 72 GHz of the spectrum will be auctioned for a period of 20 years.

The auction of over 72 GHz of the spectrum will be held by July end, said an official statement detailing the decision taken by the Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at its meeting held on June 14.

The spectrum auction will commence on July 26, 2022.

Sources said that the Cabinet has approved 5G auctions at reserve prices recommended by the sector regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

TRAI had earlier recommended a 39% reduction in the reserve or floor price for the sale of a 5G spectrum for mobile services.

5G spectrum in nine frequency bands

While the 5G spectrum in nine frequency bands will be auctioned to telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, the Notice Inviting Applications — a bid-related document issued by the Department of Telecom (DoT) — said big tech firms for the time being will be allowed to take the 5G spectrum for their captive non-public network, on lease from the telecom companies.

The notice inviting offer said direct allocation to the big tech companies will follow a demand study and sector regulator TRAI’s recommendation on aspects such as pricing and modalities of such allocation.

Big tech companies like Google

Big tech companies like Google have been seeking direct allocation of spectrum for applications such as machine-to-machine communications, IoT, and AI, while telecom companies have been opposing direct allocation of 5G spectrum to them saying it will distort the level playing field and rob the government of revenues.

According to the document, the auction is slated to start on July 26, 2022. Among other key dates to watch out for is the pre-bid conference scheduled for June 20, 2022, submission of applications with a deadline of July 8, and pre-qualification of bidders on July 18. Mock auctions will be held on July 22 and 23, 2022.

Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to conduct 5G spectrum auction

The cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to conduct a 5G spectrum auction, in which the spectrum will be assigned to the successful bidders for providing 5G services to the public and enterprises. The auction will be held by the end of July, and a total of 72097.85 MHz of spectrum with a validity period of 20 years will be put to auction.   “The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved a proposal of the Department of Telecommunications to conduct spectrum auction through which spectrum will be assigned to the successful bidders for providing 5G services to public and enterprises,” said the government in a statement.

Overall, the payment terms have been eased for bidders in the coming auction.

The Union Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi has approved a proposal of the Department of Telecommunications to conduct a spectrum auction through which spectrum will be assigned to the successful bidders for providing 5G services to the public and enterprises.

The release notes that the upcoming 5G services have the potential to create new-age businesses, generate additional revenue for enterprises and provide employment arising from the deployment of innovative use-cases and technologies.

The availability of a sufficient backhaul spectrum is also necessary to enable the roll-out of 5G services. Backhaul spectrum is different from access spectrum and is used by the telecom companies to connect their different sites. To meet the backhaul demand, the cabinet has decided to provisionally allot 2 carriers of 250 MHz each in E-band to the telecom service providers. It has also proposed to double the number of traditional Microwave backhaul carriers in the existing frequency bands of 13, 15, 18, and 21 GHz bands.

 

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