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India to conduct ₹2 lakh crore spectrum auction

Posted: 14 Oct 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:spectrum  auction  India  frequency band 

India is edging forward with its next radio spectrum auction—the fifth and, possibly, the biggest yet—with three additional frequency bands planned, and a sale that is expected to generate ₹2 lakh crore for the government, reported Mint.

Aside from the 800MHz, 900MHz and 1,800MHz waves, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) aims to include frequencies in the 2,100MHz, 2,300MHz and 2,500MHz bands. DoT is set to seek Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI's) suggestion on reserve price. Mint also mentions that DoT will consult the regulatory authority whether it can sell a spectrum with a validity of 20 years, which could be a boon to telecommunication companies that hold spectrum in the same band and operating area but with expirations spaced years apart.

The ₹2 lakh crore-sale projection was based on an unnamed telecom analyst's assessment of two of the government's most successful auctions. One was the very first auction in 2010, which generated around ₹1.06 lakh crore for the sale of 2,100MHz and 2,300MHz frequency bands required for delivery of 3G and 4G services, respectively.

The second solid success happened recently, in a ten-day-auction that concluded Feb. 13, scoring ₹61,126 crore in bids for concessions in the 900MHz and 1,800MHz bands. The government has conducted a total of four auctions to date, and both the November 2012 and March 2013 were considered failure as they only sold a quarter of the garnered a sum of around ₹13,000 crore.

With India hungry for extra airwaves, DoT must distribute as much spectrum in all bands as possible in order to alleviate network congestion, improve customer service, and aid the government in its Digital India programme, sai Hemant Joshi, a partner at a global professional services network Deloitte Haskins and Sells Llp said via Mint.

Rishi Tejpal, principal research analyst with Gartner, told IANS that it will take another couple of years before LTE picks up steam here in India, with key for growth including coverage, vast portfolio of affordable devices and right pricing.

So far, only Bharti Airtel provides 4G. Another company, Reliance Jio Infocomm is working out a commercial launch in 2015.

- Jairia Dela Cruz
  EE Times India

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