Government is likely to take a call this month on the base price of spectrum to be auctioned in February next year. Also Read - Airtel 5G Mumbai trials show download speeds of 1.2Gbps, upload at 850Mbps
“The spectrum base price will be placed before Cabinet in this month for its decision,” an official source told PTI. Sources said the inter-ministerial panel Telecom Commission in its meeting on December 8 has taken a view that base price of pan-India (22 circles) CDMA spectrum should be Rs 3,646 crore, of premium 900 Mhz band Rs 3,693 crore per Mhz for 18 circles across the country. Also Read - Let our firms take part in 5G trials, China tells India
For 1800 Mhz band, the commission proposed a price of Rs 2,191 crore per megahertz in 20 circles. The official said that Department of Telecom expects to issue auction details through ‘Notice Inviting Application’ (NIA) soon after the prices are approved by the Cabinet. “DoT is in-time for auctions. NIA will be issued as per the timeline decided by department,” the official said. According to a presentation by DoT to Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on November 13, the department expects to issue NIA by December 26-27 and start bidding for spectrum by February 23. Also Read - DoT permits telecom service providers to go ahead with 5G trials
The DoT is also mulling to auction 3G spectrum along with these three bands for which telecom regulator TRAI is expected to give its recommendations on price and other conditions in the first week of January. The official said that DoT will approach Cabinet for its nod on 3G prices after Telecom Commission firms up its view and the Telecom Minister approves it. “Focus is on auction of the proposed three bands. 3G details will be included in NIA when cabinet approves. The process for auction of rest of the band is as per schedule,” the official said.
The government expects to raise a minimum of Rs 9,355 crore from the auction of three sets of available spectrum. Sources said that it expects to further raise Rs 5,000 crore from auction of 3G spectrum. The Defence Ministry has agreed to release only 5 Mhz of 3G spectrum — one fourth of total quantity sought by DoT — for conducting auction in 17 out of 22 telecom service areas in the country.
Industry has been demanding that government should put on 20 Mhz of 3G spectrum for auction. Sources said that defence has also agreed to release other 15 Mhz but only after dedicated spectrum for it in form of Defence Band and Defence Interest Zone is promulgated.