The long-awaited 5G spectrum auction is expected to be held in May this year if the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) submits by March its recommendations on the rules regarding the sale process, according to a senior official of the telecom department.
Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw earlier this month said the TRAI has informed that it will submit its recommendations for the 5G auction by March and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is simultaneously firming up other processes to hold the auction at the earliest.
“TRAI has indicated that they will send it (recommendations) by March. Thereafter, it will take us a month to make a decision around it,” Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman told PTI.
Earlier, the government has taken time of 60-120 days to start the bidding rounds in the auction after receiving recommendations from TRAI on spectrum auction.
Rajaraman said it will take the DoT two months to start the auction from the day it gets recommendations from the TRAI.
According to the DoT, 5G is expected to deliver download speed 10 times faster than 4G services.
As per the process, DoT seeks reference from the TRAI on spectrum price, method for allocating it, block size of spectrum, payments terms and conditions, among others.
The TRAI holds consultation with the industry and other stakeholders and then submits recommendations to the DoT.
As per the current practice, the apex decision making body at the DoT, the Digital Communications Commission (formerly the Telecom Commission) takes the decision on TRAI recommendations and then approaches the Cabinet for the final approval.
Rajaraman said that the DoT has already selected MSTC as the auctioneer for the upcoming auction.
TRAI has given participants in 5G spectrum consultation to submit their additional comments by February 15 after which it will review and come up with recommendations.
Telecom operators have demanded up to 95 per cent cut in the spectrum frequency band price. Both telecom and satellite players are at loggerheads with each other on rules for the 5G spectrum auction.