India’s telecoms regulator heeded calls from operators and recommended the government reduce reserve prices for spectrum in the key 700MHz and 3500MHz bands for an upcoming auction.

In a statement, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) confirmed the sale will include more than 100,000MHz of spectrum across ten bands, which carry 20-year licences.

It recommended the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) cut the per-MHz price of 700MHz spectrum by 40 per cent to INR39.3 billion ($516.4 million) and 3500MHz by 36 per cent to INR3.2 billion.

TRAI also wants new reserve prices set for 5G spectrum in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2500MHz bands.

The government still has to finalise the amount of spectrum to assign in the 600MHz, 3500MHz and mmWave bands.

With the three major operators in the country all conducting limited 5G trials, most have called for the government to release the necessary spectrum and cut prices.

They have reportedly also threatened limited participation in the auction depending on the access enterprises are given for private 5G networks.

The coveted 700MHz band was not sold during an auction in March 2021 due its high reserve price.