Pricing for the auction should be finalised in the coming weeks, according to industry sources
India plans to complete its 5G spectrum auction by the end of November, according to reports in the Indian press.
Industry sources told Business Insider that pricing for the auction was expected to be in line with those recommended by the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), and should be finalised by the third week of September.
Indian telcos have been critical of the pricing structure set by TRAI and of the minimum service obligations attached to the spectrum put up for auction.
TRAI has previously stated that it hopes to raise up to $84 billion from its airwave auctions over the coming two years, and Indian telcos have baulked at the prices being proposed, with both Vodafone-Idea and Airtel threatening to boycott the auction, unless TRAI revised its pricing recommendations.
“It doesn’t make sense for us to buy at these levels, when the ecosystem won’t be developing for the next two to three years,” a top Bharti Airtel official said.
Speaking at an industry event in Delhi earlier this year, Airtel’s CEO, Gopal Vittal said that Indian operators would require at least 1,000MHz of spectrum each, in order to provide a comprehensive service on the sub-continent.
“Indian operators need 1,000MHz of spectrum, each, in order to do 5G properly. There is a lot of work to be done freeing up mmWave spectrum in the high bands. Even when you talk about spectrum in the mid band, the 3.5GHz spectrum, every operator is going to need 75-100MHz of spectrum, otherwise you will see a 5G icon displayed on your phone, but in reality you will just be getting a 4G experience,” he said.
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