More reports on: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

Trai starts process for next round of spectrum auction, including 5G

29 August 2017

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Monday released a consultation paper for the next round of spectrum auction, which may include nine bands, including those for fifth generation (5G) telecom services as well.

The auction also includes 60 per cent of the spectrum left unsold in the previous auction as well as 275 megahertz (MHz) of two new bands 3300-3400 MHz and 3400-3600 MHz meant for 5G services.

Trai has sought opinion on when the next round of auction should be held and whether it should be done in a "phased manner".

"The government is planning to auction the right to use of spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300-3400 MHz and 3400-3600 MHz bands in the next auction to be held in 2017," Trai said in the consultation paper.

"The key issues raised are quantum of spectrum to be auctioned, optimal block size, duplexing scheme, spectrum cap, roll-out conditions and methods to be used for valuation and estimation of reserve price of spectrum," the consultation paper said.

"DoT (Department of Telecom) has requested the authority to provide its recommendations on applicable reserve price, quantum of spectrum to be auctioned and associated conditions for auction of spectrum in these bands for all service areas," the paper said.

"DoT has proposed to include 100 MHz in all the 22 LSAs (licensed telecom circles) in the 3300-3400 MHz band for the forthcoming auction for access services," the paper said.

Trai said that out of the 200 MHz available in 3400-3600 MHz band, 25 MHz spectrum (3400-3425 MHz) is identified for ISRO's use in Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

"The remaining 175 MHz (3425-3600 MHz) spectrum is available for access services and the same can be put in the forthcoming auction," it said.

During the last auction, the government had put airwaves worth Rs5,66,000 crore for sale. In the five-day auction, seven telecom companies made commitments of Rs65,789 crore for buying 964.80 MHz of spectrum in various frequency bands. At the end of the auction, nearly 60 per cent of the spectrum remained unsold (in all, 2,354.55 MHz was placed on the block) and spectrum worth Rs4,00,000 crore in 700 MHz band found no takers.

With telecom service providers under tremendous financial stress after a big dent in profit margins after the entry of new player Reliance Jio, telcos are unlikely to bid aggressively for new spectrum.

Stakeholders have been asked to present their views latest by 25 September while counter comments can be made till 3 October 2017.

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