Communications and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday reiterated that the 5G airwaves and spectrum auctions will start rolling out in the second quarter next year. He noted that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had already issued a consultation process that was already underway and that once the regulator finalises necessary parameters, the spectrum auction and network rollout would start.
"5G development is progressing fast. In the coming months, trials and tests will commence. For 5G deployments, TRAI has already issued a consultation process. Once the consultation process completes and parameters for auction are ready, then soon in the second quarter of the coming year, the auction and rollout will be started," Vaishnaw said in a TV interview. TRAI on Wednesday started the consultation process for setting up base prices across 10 frequency bands for commercial launch 5G services.
TRAI has asked stakeholders for their views by December 28 around the sale of upcoming airwaves like the reserve price, band plan, block size, quantum of the spectrum, and related conditions. Vaishnaw noted that with the introduction of 5G services the network speed, data quality, as well as download and upload speed in the country will improve. He noted that the launch of 5G in India will reduce the reliability of foreign dependence.
India has developed its standard called 5Gi, which is being evaluated by the technical arm of the telecom department, Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC). The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has opposed 5Gi citing incompatibility of self-standardized 5G service on a global scale. It has been noted that the country lacks the required environment and device ecosystem.
Earlier in November, Vaishnaw had said the auction for the 5G spectrum is likely to take place around April-May next year noting that consultations are complex with diverse opinions. He had also noted that the government is keen to ensure that auctions are technology-neutral, and wants to give a spectrum that is consistent for many years to come. Telecom providers have sought additional time until May 2022 for the spectrum auctions from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), citing a lack of readiness.
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