Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has announced the debut auction of fifth-generation (5G) spectrum this year along with trials within 100 days. The minister further said that he would also hold talks with the debt-laden telecom industry to figure out its financial concerns and address them.
"This calendar year, we should auction. We have adequate spectrum," Prasad told reporters after taking charge of the ministry on Monday. The minister also cautioned the social media companies not to allow their platforms be misused for criminal activities such as extremism, radicalism and violence.
Referring to the next-generation mobile communications standard that supports faster data speeds, the minister said, "As far as the 5G network is concerned, we will start trials in 100 days."
Prasad added that he will prioritise making new guidelines to check such abuse as he will set up a National Data Grid and push for the passage of the Data Protection Bill. The Telecom minister affirmed his commitment to try and bring greater synergies between the IT and Telecom ministries.
The government's decision to put up an early auction is a significant step as it is a major source of revenue for it. Rs 65,789 crore was raised in the airwaves auction held by the government in 2016-17. The 5G auction will enable digital inclusion by bringing technology to rural people as well as address social causes, education and health etc.
Prasad also spoke on Chinese equipment maker Huawei's participation in the 5G trials. "Whether a company is allowed to participate or not is a complex question, including security issues," he said.
The Trump administration added Huawei to its list of blacklisted companies banning the world's second-largest smartphone maker from buying parts and components from the American companies.