Indian operators looked set to get the spectrum they need to proceed with commercial 5G service launches after the nation’s Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled plans for an auction later this year and set a target for the launch of services in the next 14 months.
In India’s annual budget statement, Sitharaman announced the provisional timeline for its next spectrum auction alongside an industrial scheme she said would deliver design-led manufacturing and build a strong 5G ecosystem.
Operators are expected to launch 5G services commercially in the fiscal year ending March 2023.
Indian operators have conducted limited trials of 5G in various cities in preparation, though all three major providers called for allocations in the next auction to be priced in a way which ensures they have enough cash to finance full deployment.
The country previously tried to sell 5G-suitable spectrum in the 700MHz band alongside various other frequencies, but failed to attract bids due to high reserve prices as cash-strapped operators focused on 4G.
A number of structural reforms were introduced in 2021 to “catalyse further investment in next generation technologies” and relieve the pressure on financially struggling operators.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back