India spectrum sale faces fresh delays - Mobile World Live

India spectrum sale faces fresh delays

27 AUG 2019

India’s planned spectrum sale is unlikely to take place until early 2020 as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) hasn’t finalised the pricing or how much spectrum will be allocated, The Economic Times (ET) reported.

In addition, the newspaper said draft documents outlining the terms and conditions have not been completed.

The DoT scheduled the auction, the country’s first since October 2016, to be held before the end of 2019. The government proposed auctioning off as much as 3,000MHz of spectrum across eight bands, including two 5G bands, potentially its largest auction ever.

A DoT representative told ET: “The timeline may be delayed by around a month.”

The department announced in December 2018 it would wait until the second half of 2019 to auction additional spectrum, giving some ground to mobile operators’ plea to delay the sale due to high levels of debt and an ongoing price war.

Vodafone Idea urged the DoT to push back future auctions until 2020, arguing demand for new spectrum will grow only once the 5G ecosystem is in place, while Bharti Airtel executives previously said they would sit out any early auction of 5G spectrum due to a lack of clarity over business cases and a shortage of compatible handsets.

In early August, the Confederation of Indian Industry warned the high reserve price set for the 5G auction would put additional downward pressure on mobile operators’ already sinking ARPU and slow growth of the sector.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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