New Delhi: India will hold a mega spectrum auction for 5G and other radiowaves in the current calendar year, and intends to start 5G trials in the next 100 days, the newly appointed telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Monday.
Setting an action-packed agenda for the ministry soon after taking charge, Prasad said he would prioritise the revival of crisis-ridden telecom PSUs Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) but added that the two companies will have to reciprocate and do their bit by adopting a professional attitude.
On the contentious issue of whether Chinese telecom gear maker Huawei will be allowed to participate in the upcoming 5G trials, the minister told reporters that the “complex issue” will be looked at seriously including security aspects.
The minister also cleared the air over timing of spectrum auctions in the country, saying, “I am of the belief that in the current calendar year, we will auction spectrum. We have adequate spectrum available.”
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has recommended auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies, including those for 5G services, at an estimated total base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore, but the financially stressed industry has contended that prices are unaffordable.
“Trai has given its recommendation on spectrum. We have a system of standing committee, finance committee, they are examining it. Once they come with solution...whether there is a need for more consultation with Trai, we will have to look into it. Then, we have to go to the Cabinet and appoint auctioneer,” the minister said....