"Majority of our operators believe that the spectrum for 5G is overpriced by at least 30-40 per cent compared to international standards and auction in other markets like 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 chief executive officer (CEO) of India's largest telecom operator Vodafone Idea, Balesh Sharma, had appealed to the government to ensure that 5G spectrum is made available to all players 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...At the current level, the spectrum prices are exorbitant for sure," Sharma had said. He was speaking at a COAI panel discussion.
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 trillion, but the financially stressed industry has contended that prices are unaffordable.
Last week, telecom operator Bharti Airtel rued that base price of spectrum recommended by the regulator is exorbitant and unaffordable, had urged the government to review the price of radiowaves to set the stage for an aggressive 5G play.
The Communications Ministry also plans to hold detailed discussion with the financially-stressed telecom industry on challenges faced by them and will work on addressing outstanding issues.
"The immediate need to make the telecom sector strong and sustainable and rationalising taxes and levies," said Sharma who was was named chairman of the COAI at industry body's Annual General Body meeting Monday.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.