In a blow to the telcos, the Cabinet has left the reserve price of 5G airwaves unchanged, according to the Notice Inviting Application (NIA) issued on Wednesday. The auctions are now scheduled to kickstart in July end.
Telcos had asked for a 90% cut in the reserve price of airwaves from the 2018 levels. Trai in its recommendations in April had cut the prices on an overall basis by 39% than August 2018 suggested prices.
The cabinet, meanwhile, approved the sale of 72,097.85 MHz of spectrum with a validity period of 20 years on Tuesday. The auction will be held for spectrum in various bands including 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands.
A release issued by the department of telecom (DoT) on Wednesday said, “The spectrum auction will be benefitted by the telecom sector reforms announced in September 2021.”
The reforms include zero Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) on the spectrum acquired in the upcoming auction, providing a significant relief to the service providers in terms of the operating cost of telecom networks.
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Further, the requirement of submitting a financial bank guarantee equivalent to one annual instalment has also been done away with, the release stated.
The Trai on April 11 had recommended a base price of Rs 317 crore a unit for airwaves in the premium 3.3-3.67 GHz band (C-band), a 36% reduction to its last recommendation in 2018. It also cut the recommended price for the coveted 700 MHz spectrum by 40%, to Rs3,297 crore a MHz, in a bid to spur India’s mobile phone companies to bid aggressively in the upcoming 5G airwaves sale.