When will 5G be available in India?

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has submitted its recommendations to government on how 5G spectrum should be auctioned to network operators. As telcos and their customers prep for 5G in their own ways, Network World Asia looks at the progress India is making towards 5G.

5G in India

The countdown to roll-out of 5G mobile services in India has resumed, after a hold-up of several months while the government waited for the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to submit its recommendations on making radio spectrum available to network operators.

TRAI was expected to submit the report, ‘Recommendations on Auction of Spectrum in frequency bands identified for IMT/5G,’ in February 2022, but eventually filed it in mid-April.

After initial optimism that auctions of 5G spectrum could take place by May 2022, the minister of state for communications Devusinh Chauhan now expects them to be held later in the year.

In its report, TRAI recommended that the reserve price for all 5G spectrum be set at 70% of the valuation previously arrived at. It recommended that spectrum for 5G be auctioned in the bands already used for mobile communications in India, and also in the new spectrum bands of 600 MHz, 3300-3670 MHz, and 24.25-28.5 GHz.

However, the telecom body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)—whose members include Airtel, Jio, and Idea—wasn’t happy with TRAI’s recommendation and said the spectrum pricing was still too high. COAI had presented arguments and concerns about the high reserve price based on global benchmarks and recommended lowering the price by 90%.

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