COAI Happy With Spectrum Pricing But Asks More Sops

COAI, the association of mobile operators in India, expressed happiness with the TRAI-suggested reserve price for airwaves in the next set of spectrum auction. Telecom regulator TRAI on Wednesday came out with guidelines for the auction.

“It is too early to comment as we are currently reviewing the recommendations and analysing the impact these recommendations will have on the industry. For now, we are glad that the Government has decided to bring down the price of spectrum, especially for the 700 MHz band,” said Rajan Mathews, DG of COAI.

For the spectrum auction, the regulator has taken the reserve price of 1800 Mhz spectrum band as reference point to decide on the base price of other bands like 700 MHz and 3500 MHz.

Foe example, the reserve price for 1MHz spectrum in 1800 MHz band for pan India has been decided at Rs 3285 crore. The reserve price for 700 MHz airwaves for 1 MHz has been kept as double that of 1800 MHz band, means Rs 6570 crore.

Similarly, the reserve price for 3500 MHz band has been fixed at 30% the reserve price of 1800 MHz.

This pricing will be a big releaf for the telecom operators as the the entire amount of airwaves in 700 MHz band remained unsold during the last auction. The bidders or the telecom operators had opined that the base price was too high then – at Rs 11,485 crore.

“It is, however, important to note that considering the current financial stress the industry is going through, lowering the spectrum prices alone doesn’t fix anything. Until and unless the SUC, licence fees and other levies are lowered as well, the industry may not be able to cope with the requirements for state-of-the-art infrastructure needed for new technologies and early roll-out of 5G,” added Mathews.

The dates of the auction, however, are not announced. The spectrum bands that would go up for sale includes 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz and 3300 MHz.

A total of 4948 MHz of airwaves would be auctioned, and the regulator has also offered the reserve price for each spectrum band.

At the reserve price base, if the entire amount of spectrum that is put for auction got sold, the government is set to pocket more than Rs 5,000,00.

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