Local regulator TRAI has recommended a cut in the base price of 5G spectrum by nearly 39% compared to the initial recommended price
The government on India may further reduce the base price of 5G frequencies for the upcoming auction, local press reported Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw as saying.
The minister said that spectrum price should be reasonable to ensure last-mile connectivity.
Vaishnaw said that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had already recommended a cut in the base price of 5G frequencies but noted that the industry was urging the government to further lower the recommended price. “We will consider their demand, in a systematic way (…) I am confident this price issue will be resolved,” the minister said.
TRAI has recommended a cut in the base price of 5G spectrum of nearly 39%, compared to the initial recommended price. However, the Cellular Operator Association of India, which represents local mobile operators, said that the industry has been demanding a cut of 90% from the original price.
The government had previously set the reserve price for 5G airwaves at INR4.92 billion ($64.1 million) per megahertz of spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band.
The minister also said that the government was expecting the 5G spectrum auction to take place in June, with the initial 5G rollouts expected for September or October.
According to previous reports, India plans to award bands such as 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz and 3.3-3.6 GHz bands. Through the spectrum auction, operators will be also able to bid for spectrum in the millimeter-wave band.
Indian operators Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have previously received a six-month extension from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to conduct 5G trials. With this extension, the carriers will be able to carry out 5G trials until May 2022. Initially, telcos had been authorized to test 5G technology until the end of November 2021.
In May last year, the DoT had awarded 5G trial spectrum for six months in the 700 Mhz, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands, paving the way for local carriers to partner and develop 5G use cases.
According to a previous Ericsson report, 5G will represent around 39% of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2027, estimated at about 500 million subscriptions.
“4G is expected to remain the dominant technology in India in 2027. However the 4G subscriptions are forecast to drop from 790 million in 2021 to 710 million in 2027, showing an annual average decline of 2%. Thus, 4G subscriptions are expected to reduce from 68 percent of mobile subscriptions in 2021 to 55 percent in 2027 as subscribers migrate to 5G,” Ericsson said.