Despite the fact that telecom operators are facing a financial crisis, the government is expected to hold spectrum auction this year. However, there are chances that the centre might not auction 5G airwaves this year as the telcos are not willing to buy the overpriced bands. This means that the Department of Telecommunication (DOT) is likely to sell 4G airwaves.
Now, it has been reported that the telcos might buy an additional 4G spectrum to fulfill the increasing data demand. The government is likely to sell 8,000 megahertz. It includes bands like 700Mhz, 800Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz, 2300 Mhz, and 2500 Mhz.
"I think Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have indicated they will be interested in acquiring 4G spectrum because of the rise in demand and traffic pattern has changed. The industry is ready for augmenting the 4G spectrum," COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews was quoted by Economic Times.
The development comes after DOT relaxed the payment option for auction as operators are struggling with several issues, and they have to pay the debt. If we talk about the changes, then DOT now allows operators to pay the amount in 16 installments. Earlier, it was eight installments. Notably, operators used to pay installments eight installments annually, and now they can pay in 16 installments.
"There is some amount of spectrum that will come up for renewal but the demand is largely for augmenting the existing capacities. Vodafone Idea has merged so we don't have an exact idea of their need," Rajan Mathews added.
India Might Miss The 5G Bus Due To Financial Crisis And COVID-19
As the government is likely to sell only 4G airwaves, this means that there will be no 5G auction this year. In fact, the ministry has not allowed any telecom operator to do network testing.
Apart from the financial crisis, COVID -19, and no clear status on Huawei and ZTE are the main reason for postponing the auction to 2021. For the unaware, countries like the USA and Australia have already said no to Huawei 5G equipment. However, India earlier allowed Huawei for the 5G trials, but now again situation has been changed as China is facing backlash due to the virus.