A high-level panel on National Infrastructure Pipeline has sought a review of the base price for 5G spectrum auctions. As per National Infrastructure Pipeline, the reserve price for airwaves auction proposed by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is much higher than other countries and interest may be tepid.

Earlier, the task force comprising top officials said in its report submitted to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman that the high price comes at a time when the demand for spectrum is likely to be subdued as consolidation has reduced the number of players in the sector to effectively only four. However, providing inclusive and affordable 5G services to all sections of the population in the country is important to achieve the National Digital Communications Policy (NDCP) goals. For this, participation of the private players in the 5G auction should be robust. In order to enable this, the authorities should rationalise all elements of spectrum pricing for the auction, including base price, period of payment of charges and interest rates, the task force added.

Further, the task force has also requested for a revamp of financing models for infrastructure and backed a return of development financial institutions, such as IDBI and IFCI, albeit with a sectoral focus.

In its argument, the task force has highlighted that banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFC) are unable to meet the massive funding requirements across sectors.