Mega 5G auction gets Cabinet nod
   Date :16-Jun-2022

Mega 5G auction 
THE Union Cabinet has approved the auction about Rs 4.3 lakh crore worth of airwaves capable of offering fifth-generation or 5G telecom services, which will likely to about 10 times faster than 4G, including ultra high-speed Internet, and gave its nod for setting up of captive 5G networks by the big tech firms.
As much as 72 GHz of spectrum with a validity period of 20 year will be put on the block during the auction, set to commence on July 26, 2022.
The auction will be held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz) and high (26 GHz) frequency bands.
“The beginning of a new era for Indian Telecom. 5G spectrum auction announced,” Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw tweeted. Sources said post the auction, the initial rollout of 5G service (about 10 times faster than 4G) could begin from August in a phased manner in the country. Going by the stipulated base price, the entire spectrum put on the block is worth at least Rs 4.31 lakh crore, the sources told PTI.
Cabinet has approved 5G auctions at reserve prices recommended by the sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). TRAI had recommended an about 39 per cent cut in floor price for the sale of 5G spectrum for mobile services, a rate that was earlier labelled ‘deeply disappointing’ by COAI as telcos were keen on 90 per cent lower prices. While the 5G spectrum in nine frequency bands will be auctioned to telecom operators like Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, the Notice Inviting Applications -- the bid-related document issued by the Telecom Department -- said big tech firms for the time being will be allowed to take the 5G spectrum for their captive non-public network on lease from the telecom companies. The decision on private networks is expected to deal a blow to telcos, which had been arguing that if independent entities are allowed to set up private captive networks with direct 5G spectrum allotment by the telecom department, the business case of TSPs (Telecom Service Providers) will get severely degraded. Notably, Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) -- which counts Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea as its members -- did not issue a statement on Wednesday on the spectrum auction. The bid document said direct allocation to the big tech companies will follow a demand study and sector regulator TRAI’s recommendation on aspects such as pricing and modalities of such allocation. Big tech companies like Google and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) have been seeking direct allocation of spectrum for applications such as machine-to-machine communications, IoT and Artificial Intelligence, while telecom companies have been opposing direct allocation of 5G spectrum to them saying it will distort the level playing field and rob the Government of revenues. As per the document, the Govt from time to time will publish required provisions and guidelines and licensing terms and conditions for enabling the setting up of Captive Non-Public Networks (CNPNs).