Monday, 30th October 2017

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Firms fume at high 5G price

COAI said recommended base price of 5G radiowaves was nearly 30-40 per cent higher than the rates in South Korea and the US

  • Published 5.06.19, 12:50 AM
  • Updated 5.06.19, 12:50 AM
  • a min read
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The government has made it clear that it plans to go ahead with spectrum auction, including for 5G radiowaves, in the current calendar year Picture by Shutterstock

A day after the government announced its intention to hold spectrum auctions in the current year, industry body COAI said the recommended base price of 5G radiowaves was nearly 30-40 per cent higher than the rates in markets such as South Korea and the US.

“Majority of our operators have indicated that 5G spectrum is far too prohibitively expensive and that their balance sheets can’t afford this,” Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) director-general Rajan Mathews told reporters on the sidelines of a 5G spectrum policy workshop organised by the industry body on Tuesday.

On Monday, the government made it clear that it plans to go ahead with spectrum auction, including for 5G radiowaves, in the current calender year.

Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also set a deadline of 100 days for starting 5G trials in the country.

“Spectrum for 5G is overpriced by at least 30-40 per cent compared with international standards and auction in other markets such as South Korea and the US,” Mathews said.

He further said that incentives should be build into the spectrum price, given that 5G services in the country will also aim to serve social goals.

On Monday evening, the newly-appointed chairman of COAI and CEO of India’s largest telecom operator Vodafone Idea, Balesh Sharma, had appealed to the government to ensure that 5G spectrum is made available at “reasonable prices” and had pitched for lower levies and taxes to make the sector strong and sustainable.

“5G spectrum should be made available to all players at reasonable prices such that more investments are directed towards enhancing network capacity and capabilities,” Sharma said.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has already 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.

Last week, Bharti Airtel had rued that the base price was “exorbitant” and unaffordable.