A Union cabinet meeting held on Wednesday approved the proposal for auctioning of 5G spectrum in the country. The auction is expected to be held by end of July.
According to a release, a total of 72097.85 MHz of spectrum with a validity period of 20 years will be put to auction to be held by the end of July. The auction will be held for spectrum in various low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), mid (3300 MHz) and high (26 GHz) frequency bands. It is expected that the mid and high-band spectrum will be utilised by telecom service providers to roll out 5G technology-based services capable of providing speed and capacities which would be about 10 times higher than existing 4G services, the release said.
According to a release, the auction would be conducted in accordance with the new telecom sector reforms announced in September last year. As per the new reforms, the requirement of submitting a financial bank guarantee equivalent to one annual instalment has been done away with and there are zero spectrum usage charges.
As part of measures to improve the ease of doing business, there is no mandatory requirement to make upfront payment by the successful bidders. Payments for spectrum can be made in 20 equal annual instalments to be paid in advance at the beginning of each year, the release said. The bidders would be given an option to surrender the spectrum after 10 years with no future liabilities with respect to balance instalments, the release said.
The cabinet has decided to provisionally allot two carriers of 250 MHz each in E-band to the telecom service providers. The Cabinet also decided to double the number of traditional microwave backhaul carriers in the existing frequency bands of 13, 15, 18 and 21 GHz bands, the release said.