The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has asserted that spectrum pricing should be kept conducive to market conditions. As per COAI, 5G entails upfront capital investments with monetisation spread over a long-haul and so pricing becomes crucial.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is planning to come out with its recommendations on 5G spectrum pricing and other modalities for upcoming auctions any time soon. Norms will also be worked out for new frequencies such as 526-698 MHz and millimetre band, that is 24.25 – 28.5 GHz, in addition to bands such as 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300-3670 MHz.

Advocating lower prices for spectrum, COAI mentions that the industry has been aggressively pitching for a drastic 80-90 per cent cut in prices of spectrum for next-generation services, which will usher in ultra-high-speeds and spawn new-age services and business models.

Earlier, in November 2021, TRAI, had released a detailed consultation paper to discuss the modalities for auction of spectrum across multiple bands, including pricing, quantum and other conditions, preparing the groundwork for upcoming 5G auctions. The spectrum auctions are slated to be conducted in 2022, to facilitate the rollout of 5G mobile services within 2022-23, by private telecom providers.

Further, TRAI’s recommendations will touch on crucial aspects like valuation and reserve price of spectrum, including 5G, quantum of spectrum, block size, eligibility conditions for participation in auction, rollout obligations, spectrum cap, and surrender of spectrum.

Meanwhile, telecom service providers (TSPs) are warming up by conducting 5G trials in Delhi, Mumbai, Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Gurgugram, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Pune and Varanasi including urban, semi-urban and rural areas.