India considers lowering 5G spectrum price
The Indian government is reportedly considering lowering the price for 5G spectrum for its auction that is set to take place later this year.
A Bloomberg report said that the price reduction will encourage more operators to take part in the auction with some operators reluctant given the massive price difference between 4G and 5G deployment.
The government had indicated that the reserve price for 5G airwaves was $64.1 million per MHz of spectrum in the 3,300MHz to 3,600MHz bands but this is now being reconsidered.
But operators in the country have frequently complained about the high price to the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) noting it was significantly higher than other markets around the world.
It was announced in February by India’s finance minister that a 5G auction would take place in the country later this year with the report stating that it is set for either August or September.
However, 5G services are not expected to roll out until next year.
Reports of this potential decision would be welcome by the struggling Vodafone Idea, which sold a majority stake of its shares to the Indian government in January.
The move would also be a boost for Bharti Airtel, one of the few remaining players in the Indian telco market after it said it would not bid for the spectrum at all if the prices were not reduced.
The Indian telco market was disrupted by Reliance Jio’s free calls and ultra-cheap data play in 2016 resulting in a reduction of the number of telcos operating in the country.