At an open house discussion held by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on rules for allocation of spectrum for 5G services, the telecom operators and satellite players remained sharply divided. To this end, TRAI has asked companies and stakeholders to provide their additional submission before February 15, 2022, especially with details around methods for valuation of the spectrum.

Earlier, TRAI had recommended base price of proposed 5G spectrum in 3,300-3,600 MHz band at about Rs 4.92 billion per MHz unpaired spectrum on pan-India basis. Besides, telecom operators interested in buying radiowaves for 5G will also have to shell out a minimum of Rs 98.40 billion on pan-India basis to buy spectrum in the 3,300-3,600 MHz band.

Meanwhile, if the telecom operators’ demands are met then the medium band spectrum should cost them only Rs 4.92 billion at the base price. However, the major telecom players suggest that TRAI should fix the base price of 5G spectrum in mid-band and high frequency band using international benchmarks. The telecom operators have suggested the regulator to map international pricing benchmarks at telecom circle level by using a matrix of average revenue per user, GDP of the country, etc.

In contrast, the satellite players opposed telecom operators’ demand to auction a high frequency range of 27.5- 28.5 GHz. The satcom players are of the opinion that as per global practice, 27.5-28.5 GHz have not been auctioned and in India also should be allocated administratively. The satcom players further went on emphasising that providing in-flight services and maritime connectivity to 500 vessels in the 28 GHz and allocation of this frequency will adversely impact the company’s operation.