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Telcos pursue easier pay terms in 5G auction allocations

Photo: Swarajya

Telecom sector leaders are counting on the regulatory body and the government to ensure easier
payment terms for 5G spectrum in the upcoming auctions. They have also underlined the criticality of
fast-track fiberisation of tower networks as India braces to roll out 5G later this year.

The industry is expecting easier payment terms such that financial stress is neither aggravated nor does
it nullify the liquidity support provided by the government with the (recent) reforms package,” Vodafone
Idea Managing Director, Ravinder Takkar said on the second day of ET Telecom’s 5G Congress 2022.

Bharti Enterprises, Vice Chairman, Akhil Gupta called for a comprehensive augmentation of the
country’s optic fibre resources to enable the targeted 80-85% fiberisation of towers required for 5G
networks to handle a likely massive surge in data traffic.

The government has been pushing the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to announce its 5G
spectrum pricing recommendations by the end of this month so that it can hold the auction in May. It
wants initial 5G rollouts by August 15.

The recent 5G trials, he said, had also proven that higher data speeds, low latency and reliability of the
next-generation mobile broadband technology have the potential to hugely boost performance of
businesses, revolutionize customer experience, change consumer lifestyles and positively impact rural
Indians.

“5G will need hundreds of thousands of small cells due to the nature of spectrum used, and these small
cells will have to be practically 100% on fibre from Day 1, which is why there will have to be a big
augmentation of inter-state, intra-state and intra-city optic fibre networks,” Gupta said at the event.

The government has earmarked a mix of mid-band airwaves in the 3.3-3.67 Ghz range, millimetre waves
(26/28 Ghz) and key sub-Ghz bands such as 600 Mhz and 700 Mhz for 5G services. The 5G ecosystem in India had become &broader and deeper as technology companies, especially startups and SMEs are working hard to develop indigenous 5G technologies and services,” said AK Tiwari, Member, Digital Communications Commission (DCC), the highest decision-making body in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Vi’s, Takkar said that “startups would have a significant play in the whole 5G ecosystem.” Vi is working with a host of innovative startups to build propositions for Industry 4.0, he said. Tata Consultancy Services, Chief Operating Officer, NG Subramaniam said there was a need to encourage and steer investments in R & D. He added, “an aligned vision for the future of 5G and 6G technologies in terms of outcomes with cross coverage, capacity, experience, trust and security should
be the top priority.”

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