The auction for the 5G spectrum which can be said as the most awaited option is likely to happen sometime around April or May next year according to Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, as he said on Thursday. Violet racing The Union Minister informed that TRAI, that is, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which looks at the structure of auctions, is now going through consultations on the matter and they may submit their report by February next year.
The communications Minister said that TRAI may submit the report by February mid or even end, or maximum it can extend till March, but after this, the auctions will surely take place. As per TOI reports, The Minister said, “I think they will submit their report by February-mid is what we are thinking, maybe February-end, maximum to maximum March. Immediately after that, we will have the auctions.” But apart from this, he refrained from giving a particular timeline for the auction and will wait until TRAI submits its report.
He added that they have estimated the time by April or May because the consultations are complex and because of many opinions, it can take time. He added, “but today our estimate is by April or May. I was earlier estimating March. But I think it will take…because control consultations are complex and diverse opinions are coming.”
The government is now ensuring that the options are Technology neutral and the government also wants to give a spectrum that is consistent for many years to come. He said, “So, 4G can be used in that, 5G can be used. So, that’s the thinking based not just on the short term but more like thinking at least 5-10 years ahead.” In March this year, the last round of spectrum auction was held, which had ranked in a winning bid of over Rs. 77,800 crore for 855.6 Mhz of the spectrum.
The Minister informed that the center is currently looking to bring a series of further reforms for the sector. He also said that the regulatory structure of the telecom Centre has to be changed in the next 2-3 years. “India’s telecom sector regulation has to be benchmarked with the global best, so we will come with a series of reforms in this, such that the global benchmark of regulations is achieved in India,” he said.
As per the reports of TOI, Vaishnaw said that with major reforms for telcos which were outlined in September, the government is now expecting the industry to focus on stepping up investments by 2-4 times, so that they can reach out to the unconnected and improve service quality. “See call drops…classic case, call drops because the investment in the sector is very less, that investment has to step up to 2-4 X. That’s what we need”, he added.
The telecom sector has got a shot in the arm with the government as they recently approved a blockbuster relief package which has included a four-year break for companies from paying statutory dues, permission to share scarce airwaves, change in the definition of revenue on which levies are paid and 100 percent foreign investment through the automatic route, and the measures are aimed to provide relief to telecom service providers so that they can pay thousands of crores in unprovisioned past statutory dues.
According to TOI, Vaishnaw said with confidence that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thought of having a world-class technology stack in the telecom sector will come into force by the middle of 2023.
“All along we have imported technology. Today, our entire network works on somebody else’s. So, the fundamental change which will happen is 4G, 5G and 6G. This entire technology stack, the hardware as well as software, will be developed in India, proven in India, then used all over the world,” he said.