India issues timetable for spectrum auction

India issues timetable for spectrum auction

Ravi_Shankar_Prasad cropped.jpg

India has confirmed its next spectrum auction will take place online on 1 March with the deadline for applications set for 5 February.

The country's Department of Telecoms (DoT) released the timetable yesterday in a 174-page document inviting applications. It scheduled prequalification of bidders for 19 February, and the final list of bidders for 24 February. A mock auction is scheduled for two days later.

However, as page eight of the document read, "the Government reserves the right to use any other means to assign the spectrum as it may deem fit without assigning any reason whatsoever."

Providing the auction does go ahead as planned, a single process will be carried out for assigning spectrum blocks in various bands, with a validity of 20 years and totals as follows:

660 MHz in 700 MHz

230 MHz in 800 MHz

81.4 MHz  in 900 MHz

313.6 MHz  in 1800 MHz

175 MHz in 2100 MHz

560 MHz in 2300 MHz

230 MHz in 2500 MHz band


Additionally, the block size has been confirmed as follows:

200KHz (paired) in 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands,

1.25MHz (paired) in 800 MHz band

5 MHz (paired) in 700 MHz band

5 MHz (paired) in 2100 MHz band

10 MHz (unpaired) in 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.

 Not all of this spectrum is for telecommunications. For example, DoT clarified that part of the 300MHz spectrum will be assigned to the Navy with the Department of Space is reportedly also keen to get a look in.

Successful bidders will have the option to pay instalments, with the first upfront payment set for 25 May, 2026. Dot said: " In addition to the successful bid amount Spectrum Usage Notice Inviting Applications – January 2021 Page 16 of 174 Charge as a percentage of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) shall be payable by the successful bidders as per the rates, procedures and methodology notified by the Government from time to time

DoT is seeking comments on its roadmap by 13 January.

IT and telecoms minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (pictured) said last month that India's next spectrum auction – the first since 2016 – would commence in January following delays last year caused by Covid-19.

At the time, he approved the bands for auction and also announced a national security directive for the telecoms sector, which would pave the way for India to become self-reliant for its future telecoms kit, specifically 5G kit.

Within days, Mukesh Ambani unveiled plans for Jio's own 5G launch, setting a target roll out date of H2 this year. However, given the latest spectrum announcement this timeline could now be thrown into doubt.


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