DoT requests TRAI to speed 5G spectrum pricing for quicker rollout in India

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sent a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to speed up the pricing of 5G spectrum, for which the auctions are expected to be held soon. The letter relays the wishes of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to have 5G networks deployed in India by August 15th, 2022.

In the letter, the DoT writes,

…PMO has requested DoT to work towards the initial launch of 5G by 15th August 2022 and also explore the possibility of obtaining requisite recommendations from TRAI before March-2022. In view of the above, TRAI is requested to expedite the matter and provide the recommendations at the earliest.

The letter also mentions the availability of extra spectrum in the 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz and the 1800 Mhz bands. In the 900MHz band, there is an additional 34MHz of spectrum available. In the 1800MHz band, an additional 10MHz has been made available in Haryana.

Before the spectrum auctions can be held, the TRAI has to decide how the spectrum must be split and whether guards bands, which prevent interference, are required at all. While Reliance Jio believes that guard bands are not necessary, Airtel and Vodafone Idea feel otherwise. In any case, the telecom industry has asked to reduce TRAI’s current pricing recommendation of Rs. 492 for a MHz, before the auctions begin.

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