Government plans to complete spectrum auction by November-end

New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) | Publish Date: 9/10/2019 12:00:44 PM IST

The Department of Telecom plans to conclude spectrum auction by November 30 and the inter-ministerial panel, Digital Communications Commission, will meet after the third week of September to finalise the spectrum auction prices which are expected to be what the TRAI has recommended, highly placed sources said.

There may not be any new set of prices of the auction. “We are in the process of appointing an auctioneer soon,” the sources added.

Asked about the industry’s financial health and their opposition to the TRAI set prices for the auction terming it higher, the source said, they (the telcos) would find a way. If banks are not giving them loans due to poor financials of the sector, they can approach other means of funding. 

Trai had in August 2018 recommended auction of about 8,644 MHz of spectrum across bands at an estimated total base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore, but the industry said the proposed prices were unaffordable and exorbitant. For instance, for the 5G band in the 3300-3600 MHz (5G), where prices had been given for the first time at Rs 492 crore per MHz, for a pan-India minimum block of 20 MHz, operators would have to shell out Rs 9,840 crore, which is seen as steep, which telcos say is uncompetitive.

Similarly, though Trai had reduced the reserve price by 43 per cent at Rs 6,568 crore per MHz for the premium 4G spectrum, still for a pan-India 5 MHz block, operators would have to shell out Rs 32,840 crore.

Going by global auction of 5G sepctrum, the price of Rs 492 crore per MHz for 5G spectrum was seen on the higher side, as the South Korean auctions which happened last year had the price at Rs 130 crore per MHz.

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