NEW DELHI: Facing one more delay, the 5G spectrum auction is now likely to take place around April-May 2022, according to communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
“Today, our estimate is by April-May. I was earlier estimating March. But, I think it will take...because consultations are complex, diverse opinions are coming,” he said on Thursday addressing a summit.
He added that the government will introduce more reforms in the debt-laden telecom sector.
Vaishnaw added that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), which is tasked with recommending base price and other important formalities, is undergoing consultations on the matter and they are expected to submit a report by February-March 2022.
“I think they will submit their report by February-mid is what we are thinking, maybe February-end, maximum to maximum March. Immediately after that, we will have the auctions,” the minister said.
According to telecom ministry officials, the department of telecommunications (DoT) is working with Trai to seek the base price recommendations.
According to the current reserve price, telcos would need to pay Rs 50,000 crore to acquire 100 MHz of 5G spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band, which is needed on average to deploy the 5G tech.
Telcos have maintained that the price is too high, especially at a time when the sector has huge AGR dues to pay.
Vaishnaw’s statement also comes a day after it was reported that the DoT has decided to give a six-month extension to telecom service providers to conduct 5G trials till May, 2022.
According to an analyst at a leading consultancy firm, the extension may push the auction to the second half of 2022, meaning a commercial roll out of 5G services may only take place in early 2023.