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Consider previous recommendations for next spectrum auction, TRAI to DoT

Telecom regulator TRAI has asked the Department of Telecom to consider its recommendations made last year on spectrum auctions to plan the sale of radiowaves, a senior government official said on Wednesday.

DoT Joint Wireless Advisor Gulab Chand, during a panel discussion at the India Spectrum Management Conference, said the government is trying its best to hold spectrum auctions by the end of the current fiscal or early next fiscal. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has asked the department to go ahead with recommendations for lower frequency bands last year for 5G spectrum auction, and it will take time to come up with suggestions on pricing and other modalities for new frequency bands, he added. ”They (TRAI) said reserve price, eligibility criteria, everything is with you for legacy bands. Why don’t you go ahead with all those conditions and immediately conduct the auctions. For the new bands – Q (33-50 Ghz) band and V (40-75 Ghz) band, they will need more time,” Chand said.

He said much of the spectrum allocated in the lower band earlier is due to expire this fiscal and telecom operators would like to acquire it again.

”We are trying very hard to hold the auction, if not within this fiscal, then maybe just in the beginning of next fiscal,” Chand said. The Union Cabinet in September 2021 decided that spectrum auctions should be normally held in the last quarter of every financial year.

TRAI Secretary V Raghunandan, who was present at the conference, said the regulator has told the DoT that if a spectrum auction has to be conducted this year or within the next three years, then they can refer to spectrum pricing and other conditions recommended by the regulator for the 5G spectrum auction. ”We have also given a formula of indexing for determining base price,” Raghunandan said.

The government, in 2022, put a total of 72,097.85 MHz of spectrum for auction with a validity period of 20 years.

TRAI had recommended base price 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. A record bid of over Rs 1.5 lakh crore worth of 5G telecom spectrum was received in the auction held last year. PTI

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