As per industry sources, the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) has accepted Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations on the base prices of 5G airwaves while deciding that spectrum should be auctioned for a period of 20 years.

DCC has also decided not to allot spectrum directly to corporate entities for private 5G networks, as suggested by the regulator, but instead that they partner with licensed telcos, accepting a key demand of the operators.

At its meeting, the DCC also decided that airwaves in the millimetre wave band of 27.5 GHz to 28.5 GHz band, which was sought by satellite companies for broadband-from-space services, should be kept out of the 5G spectrum auction. The regulator had suggested that telcos and satcom companies use the band on a coexistence basis.

In addition, the panel also decided to reserve some 5G bandwidth for state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Meanwhile, the DCC’s recommendations, which were in line with the recommendations of the DoT’s standing committee, will now be sent to the cabinet for final approval.

The government plans to auction more than 100,000 MHz of airwaves valued at about Rs 5 trillion in June 2022 and wants initial rollouts of 5G services between August and September 2022.

Earlier, TRAI had, on April 11, 2022 recommended a base price of Rs 3.17 billion a unit for airwaves in the premium 3.3-3.67 GHz band (C-band). This reflected a 36 per cent reduction to its last recommendation in 2018. It also cut the recommended price for the coveted 700 MHz spectrum by 40 per cent, to Rs 32.97 billion a MHz, in a move to spur India’s mobile phone companies to bid aggressively in the upcoming 5G airwaves sale.