Spectrum auctions by year-end, or early next year: Telecom Minister

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on September 13, 2019

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice addressing at the launch of Maritime Communications Services in Mumbai. Photo: Paul Noronha   -  BusinessLine

In line with the industry’s expectations, the government will auction mobile spectrum either by the end of this year or early next year. Further, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) also launched a pilot project in Mumbai to prevent mobile thefts by blocking International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers.

“The communications policy is already in place, and by the end of this year or beginning of the next year, we propose to go for auction of spectrum. We have ensured that India’s auction of spectrum is done in a fair and transparent manner,” Union minister for Communications and Electronics and IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said here in Mumbai.

“The government, my department is surely looking into all the problems of the telecom sector. We have taken up many of the problems to the government, all the policy initiatives are also in place, whether it’s spectrum trading and spectrum sharing,” he added.

The government was looking at auctioning spectrum across technologies (2G, 3G, 4G and 5G) and across most available frequencies (700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz and 3300-3600 MHz bands) this year. This would be the biggest-ever spectrum auction, with over 8000 MHz of spectrum – including 5G – by the country.

In August this year, the DoT invited bids for selection of an agency for spectrum auction, which would be for all the 22 telecom circles. The Minister also said that the digital payment has become the “toast of India” and BHIM app (developed by the National Payments Corporation of India, based on the Unified Payments Interface or UPI) has become very popular.

In November 2016, when it was started, the platform recorded 4,000 transactions per day, which rose to 2.65 crore per day in July 2019. The transaction amount in UPI was ₹5,325 crore per month in September 2017, which rose to ₹1.46 lakh crore as of July 2019. “This is being powered by people from kasbah and rural India,” he added.

The DoT also launched a pilot project in Mumbai to prevent mobile thefts in India. The department, which has been working on a Central Equipment Identity Register or CEIR (a database of IMEI), will blacklist the number.

Published on September 13, 2019

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