NEW DELHI: Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan on Monday said that the government expects to complete 5G spectrum auction process by August next year and that the aim is to roll out the services by stipulated deadline of 2020.
“The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given a preliminary set of recommendations. Working committee at the DoT (Department of Telecom) is looking at them. The task force has also given broader spectrum bands on which we have to work. Everybody has said that since the ecosystem is not ready, 5G will be ready after July-August next year,” Sundararajan said.
Meanwhile, leading telecom operator Vodafone Idea recently urged the telecom department not to hold spectrum auction till 2020, on the grounds that fresh need for quality radio waves will arise only once the 5G ecosystem is ready.
The operator had previously also asked the government to fix the financial health of the sector, which is reeling under massive debt.Sundararajan, however, said that they expect to complete due procedures by July-August 2019.
“I cannot say whether it (spectrum auction) will happen by then, but we will be ready post the second half of 2020,” she said.The secretary also clarified that 2020 deadline doesn’t mean that the whole country will be 5G-ready.
“When we say 2020, it doesn’t mean the whole country will have 5G, but it will start. Field trials are going on,” Sundararajan said.Telecom regulator TRAI on Sunday had recommended auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies at an estimated total base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore, which includes radio waves for 5G services. The 5G committee of the telecom ministry has said that about 6,000 Mhz of spectrum can be made available without delay for the next generation mobile service.
The Central government has been advocating for some time to launch the 5G on a par with global implementation, and not have a delayed implementation like 4G. Telecom minister Manoj Sinha had previously given a 2020 timeline for India joining the 5G services.
When we say 2020, it doesn’t mean the whole country will have 5G, but it will start. Field trials are going onAruna Sundararajan, Telecom Secretary
Vistara, SpiceJet up for in-flight connectivity
Two private airlines — SpiceJet and Vistara — have shown interest in providing the soon-to-be started in-flight connectivity on their aircraft, Sundararajan said. She also said that global service providers are interested in facilitating in-flight connectivity services in the country.
“There are some airlines that have equipment installed on the aircraft to perform in-flight connectivity operations. So once they get the licence, they will be able to provide the service,” she said. DoT on Friday notified the rules for in-flight and maritime connectivity.