The government has said that the spectrum auctioned earlier in March 2021 can be used for deploying 5G services.

Minister of state for communications Sanjay Dhotre has said in the Lok Sabha that spectrum acquired through auction can be used to provide services using any technology, including 5G.

In the recent 4G spectrum auction which concluded on March 2, 2021, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has fetched a total amount of Rs 778.14 billion after six rounds of bidding.

While, bids were received in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands, there were no takers for the airwaves in the premium 700 and 2500 MHz bands.

On a separate note, the government has also said that it is carrying out a consultation process on differential licensing through which different layers of telecom services will be dealt with separately.

Under the current licensing regime, infrastructure, network, and service layers are not segregated and are part of the unified licence. At present, only the infrastructure layer is unbundled in the form of infrastructure provider category-I (IP-I), though with limited scope.

As per industry sources, telecom operators have opposed the proposal in their submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). Telcos have stated that the proposal goes against regulatory consistency and would have unpredictable implication on investments, leading to investor uncertainty.