The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to split the next telecom spectrum auctions in two parts by offering 4G airwaves in 2020 and 5G airwaves during 2021.

As per industry sources, the Digital Communications Commission (DCC) recently held a discussion on the upcoming auctions. While Reliance Jio has not publicly backed a move to delay 5G auctions, all three operators argued that the base price worth Rs 4.92 billion a unit was too high and would not attract bids.

Further, the source added that there is uncertainty over the quantum of 5G airwaves available for telcos after agencies such as the Department of Space and the defence ministry are said to have requested premium spectrum for use.

According to industry sources, the move of deferring 5G auctions is likely to benefit Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel, owing to their stretched finances.

However, the proposal, if agreed, will need the Union Cabinet’s approval.