The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has said that the rollout of 5G is likely to be delayed by 5 years. This delay is likely to happen due to exorbitant base prices, insufficient spectrum and unavailability of newer bands.
Director General of COAI, Rajan S Mathews said, "We will push out 5G for at least five years. That's the operator perspective." He said that there was a pricing problem and now the quantum issue has surfaced, which will delay 5G commercial rollouts, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times.
He said that pricing started as a problem for the industry and added that most operators thought 5G rollout pricing of Rs 492 crore for 1 MHz was not viable, given the debt and international prices.
Mathews further added that the quantum of 5G spectrum being offered in India is insufficient as the industry is seeking 100 MHz per operator. "We are running into some issues. Originally, TRAI had said 300 MHz of the spectrum was available. Others were putting their hands up for the same spectrum. With 25 MHz to space and 100 MHz to defence, a total of 125 MHz is going away," he said.
Swedish mobile company Ericsson also said in a report on Monday that 5G subscriptions are expected to be available in India only in 2022. It had earlier said that 5G deployment and initial commercial availability in the country would take place in 2020. It has also mentioned that about 11 per cent of India's overall mobile subscriptions would be 5G by end of 2025.
The government had initially planned for 5G rollout by 2020-end. It also plans to hold auctions for airwaves by the end of this fiscal year.