Cabinet approves 5G auctions by July-end

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The Cabinet has approved a mega 5G auction; 72 GHz spectrum will be auctioned off by the end of July.

15th of June, New Delhi

The Union Cabinet has approved the bidding war of airwaves capable of providing fifth-generation or 5G telecom services such as ultra-high-speed internet, as well as the establishment of captive 5G networks by major technology firms.

The auction of more than 72 GHz of spectrum will take place by the end of July, according to an official statement detailing the decision made by the Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at its meeting on June 14.

The auction of spectrum will begin on July 26, 2022.

According to sources, the Cabinet approved 5G bids at reserve prices recommended by the sector regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

TRAI had previously recommended a 39% decrease in the contingency fund or price floor for the selling of 5G spectrum for mobile services.

While the 5G spectrum in nine frequency bands will be sold at auction to telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, the Notice Inviting Applications—a bid-related document issued by the DoT—stated that big tech firms will be allowed to take the 5G spectrum on lease from telecom companies for the time being.

According to the Notice Inviting Offer, direct allocation to large tech companies will be based on a demand study and the sector regulator TRAI’s recommendations on pricing and allocation modalities.

Big tech companies like Google have been pushing for direct spectrum allocation for applications like machine-to-machine communications, IoT, and AI, while telecom companies have been arguing that it will alter the level playing field and rob the government of revenue.

“Enterprises establishing a Captive Non-Public Network may lease spectrum from TSPs (telecom service providers) with Access Service Authorization and set up their own isolated network.” DoT will issue required licencing terms and conditions as well as Spectrum Leasing guidelines,” according to the Notice Inviting Applications.

According to the document, the government will periodically publish the necessary provisions and guidelines, as well as licencing terms and conditions, to enable the establishment of Captive Non-Public Networks (CNPN). “Sufficient backhaul spectrum is also required to enable the rollout of 5G services.”

To meet backhaul demand, the Chamber has decided to allot Telecom Service Providers two carriers of 250 MHz each in E-band, according to an official statement.

According to the release, the Cabinet also made the decision to double the number of cultural microwave backhaul telcos in the existing frequency bands of 13, 15, 18, and 21 GHz.

The Indian market is preparing for 5G services, which will usher in ultra-high velocities and spawn new technologies and business models, and the gigantic will pave the way for telcos to roll out next generation services in 2022-23.

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