5G spectrum auction likely to be delayed till April-May 2022
The 5G spectrum auction is likely to be delayed till April-May from an initial projection of February, which could widen the Centre’s fiscal deficit for the year.
Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday said at an event the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is working on the modalities of the auction
“Our estimate is by April-May. I think it will take time because Trai consultations are complex, diverse opinions are coming,” he said.
While announcing the government’s big-bang telecom reforms in September, Vaishnaw had said the auctions would be held in February.
The telecom department has approached Trai for its recommendations on pricing, amount of 5G spectrum for sale and other modalities.
“The government had budgeted for inflows of nearly Rs 54,000 crore from other communication services for the current year, presumably boosted by the expectation of fresh auction inflows,” according to Aditi Nayar, chief economist, Icra.
“We now assess the inflows from the telecom sector into the government’s 2021-22 non tax revenues to be limited to Rs 28,000 crore, trailing the budgeted Rs 54,000 crore, which will modestly widen its fiscal deficit, “ she said.
The government is targeting a fiscal deficit of 6.8 per cent of GDP in 2021-22, a big improvement over the previous year when the fiscal deficit shot up to 9.3 per cent in the Covid-affected economy.
The DoT has sought the views of Trai across multiple bands such as 700Mhz, 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz, 2300 Mhz, 2500 Mhz bands as also 3,300-3,600 Mhz that were not put up for auctions in the last round.