TRAI defends 5G spectrum pricing; says it is up to companies to decide if they want to buy

PTI New Delhi | Updated on February 12, 2020

Telecom regulator TRAI on Wednesday strongly defended its recommendations on pricing of spectrum, including 5G airwaves, saying its views had been finalised based on industry feedback, and it is for the individual stakeholders to decide whether to participate in the auction or not.

TRAI’s views assume significance as Bharti Airtel, earlier this month, made it clear that it will not buy 5G spectrum in the upcoming auction if its base price is fixed at ₹492 crore per megahertz as recommended by the telecom regulator.

Minister of State for telecom and IT Sanjay Dhotre had informed Rajya Sabha last week that a Draft Cabinet Note has been prepared for the auction of the spectrum, and that the document is under consideration within the Department.

“I don’t react on decisions that individual companies take. TRAI has recommended the reserve pricing after taking into account the feedback and comments from various stakeholders and has given that to the government.

“The government has also apparently accepted those reserve prices and it is for the government to decide on the timing of the auction,” Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) Chairman RS Sharma said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a joint workshop on `Digital Radio Vision for India’ organised by Xperi Corporation and India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA).

”...of course while the government will decide the time of the auction, it is for the stakeholders to decide whether they want to participate in the auction or not,” Sharma said when asked about Airtel’s recent statement that aired concerns around the high spectrum prices.

The government is planning to hold next round of spectrum auction in April-May this year. The auction will also include radiowaves for 5G services. The Digital Communications Commission has approved reserve price recommended by Trai but it will be placed before the Cabinet for the final approval.

Published on February 12, 2020

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