Government, Telecom News, ET Telecom

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Kolkata: Telecom companies have asked the government to facilitate payment terms for 5G spectrum in the upcoming auction, Devusinh Chauhan, state minister for communications, told Lok Sabha on Wednesday. This, even as a parliamentary panel on IT, led by Congressman Shashi Tharoor, expressed concerns over the delayed launch of 5G services in India and also called on the regulator and the government to reduce the price of departure of 5G waves during the upcoming sale.

“Some TSPs have asked for easier payment terms for 5G spectrum,” Chauhan said in response to a question in parliament.

Ravinder Takkar, CEO of Vodafone Idea, and Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel, had recently stressed the need for the industry regulator and the telecommunications department to secure easier payment terms for 5G spectrum in the upcoming sale to to alleviate the financial stress of telecommunications operators.

The Tharoor-led panel, in turn, said in a report that while its high-time 5G services are being rolled out in India in some specific use cases, “it sees no progress in that direction.” In fact, the panel called on the DoT to review all of its policies relating to 5G so that the country is not left behind in the 5G race. He added that the current 5G spectrum pricing is exorbitant compared to other countries and therefore pushed for a price review.

India’s major telecom operators – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – in their recent submissions had urged the regulator to cut the starting price of 5G waves in the midband and 700Mhz bands by up to 95% and set low starting prices for new frequencies to be offered for sale. They said it was essential for operators to obtain the financial leeway needed to invest the best dollars in capital-intensive 5G mobile broadband networks.

Trai’s secretary, V Raghunandan, had told ET on Tuesday that the regulator would submit its long-awaited recommendations on pricing for 5G waves within a week to 10 days. The government wants to launch the spectrum auction by May-June to facilitate the rollout of next-generation wireless broadband networks by August 15, the county’s Independence Day.

The government has reserved a mix of mid-band radio waves in the 3.3-3.67 Ghz range, millimeter wave (26/28 Ghz) and key sub-Ghz bands such as 600 Mhz and 700 Mhz for 5G services.

Responding to a further question during Question Time, Chauhan also said that the four companies have been allocated spectrum to conduct trials and added that the trials should be completed soon. At the same time, the Minister indicated that the telecoms regulator TRAI has also been invited to give its recommendations for the next auction.

Separately, Union Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told Lok Sabha that India’s indigenous 4G mobile network has been prepared at the earliest time and will be rolled out soon. He added that Indian scientists predicted that 5G networks would also be ready by the end of 2022.

“Indian engineers have prepared the country’s own 4G network, which is ready to be launched very soon…the whole world is watching in surprise on how India has built its 4G network so early,” Vaishnaw said. in Parliament.

Telecommunications Secretary K Rajaraman had recently said that the locally developed 4G network deployed by state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) would be economical and also overcome network security fears such as hidden backdoors. in telecommunications equipment.

Vaishnaw also told Parliament that after many years, BSNL has made an operating profit after improving its services.

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