Govt sets 5G ball rolling, says spectrum auction by year-end or early 2020

Union law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Union telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said the 5G spectrum auction will be conducted this year-end or early next year.

"The communications policy is already in place, and by the end of the year or the beginning of the next year, we propose to go for auction of spectrum. We are very sure that India's auction of spectrum will be done in fair and transparent manner," he said at an event here.

Initially in June, the Department of Telecom, outlined plans to hold the next spectrum sale first since 2016 by December 2019.

Under the scheme, the government plans to auction around 8,293.95 MHz of airwaves at an estimated total base price of Rs 5.86 trillion.

The DoT has suggested a base price for 5G airwaves at Rs 492 crore per MHz and proposed a sale of a minimum 20 MHz blocks, which would mean a telco spending close to Rs 10,000 crore for 20 MHz, and Rs 50,000 crore for 100 MHz.

"My department will surely look into all the issues of the telecom sector. Many of them we have already taken up with the government and will continue to pursue that," he added.

The minister further said, "the government will be open to assist and to facilitate and guide and to motivate, but in turn will expect the telecom operators to reinforce their own management, technology and services."

The minister was in the city to launch Nelcos maritime communication services, which aims to provide broadband services to the maritime sector.

Maritime connectivity will enable support to those in sea by providing voice, data and video services while travelling on sailing vessels, cruise liners, ships in India, using satellite technology.

The services are being launched under In-flight and Maritime Communications (IFMC) license announced by the Government in December 2018.

IFMC allows voice and internet services while flying over the Indian skies and sailing in Indian waters, both for international and Indian aircraft and vessels.

The minister also launched the pilot project in Maharashtra for tracing of stolen mobile phones today in Mumbai.

Speaking at the event, Prasad also noted that this is the age of power of technology and communication, and it is necessary leverage them for peoples welfare.

"Digital inclusion is the essence of digital India and focus of this government. We have to leverage use of technology for that. Linking of Jan Dhan account with mobile and Aadhar is one example of it. Epoch making changes are happening where the lives of 130 crore people are enriched by DBT through leverage of technology. E-governance empowers the masses. That is what is sweeping India," he said.

Speaking on this new development, PJ Nath, MD and CEO of NELCO said, "through the initiative we will also be offering a bouquet of digital services to cater to the needs of the various types of maritime vessels. Going forward we believe that we will be able to fully meet the communication needs of the maritime industry with our comprehensive solutions.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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