The Indian government established a panel comprising the heads of its telecoms and defence ministries, among others, to streamline spectrum allocation and deliver a long-term roadmap designed to offer operators clarity on the specific bands to be made available, The Economic Times (ET) reported.

A senior official told ET the committee’s goal is to sort out conflicting interests between ministries, identify bands to be released and look to hold an auction annually. The group met for the first time on 12 October.

The Department of Space and the Ministries of Information and Broadcasting; Railways; and Home Affairs are also on the panel. A source told the newspaper its remit may be expanded to cover spectrum pricing.

Top of the agenda for the committee will be convincing the Department of Space to give up blocks of 26GHz spectrum, which the Department of Telecommunications wants for a 5G auction, ET stated.

Operators have long called for a clear spectrum roadmap to enable them to plan their network strategies and capex budgets.

A 4G auction involving as much as 2475MHz of spectrum planned for this year was pushed to early 2021, despite interest from Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. A 5G spectrum auction was also delayed until 2021, due to the poor financial health of the industry and worries the reserve price is too high to attract interest.

The country’s last spectrum sale was in October 2016, generating $9.8 billion for the government.