Spectrum auctions okayed at Rs 96,317 cr base price

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved auctions in eight spectrum bands for mobile phone services at a base price of Rs 96,317.65 crore to improve the quality of telecom services and coverage for consumers.

The Ministry of Communication has announced auctions for spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands. The said spectrum will be offered with a validity period of 20 years.

“A total of 10,523.15 MHz is being offered with a valuation of Rs. 96,317.65 crore,” said the official statement.

During a press conference, Union Home Minister Anurag Thakur said, “The spectrum that is remaining after the year 22-23 auction…auction of this spectrum will take place now…this auction will be done according to service area wise…”

The Cabinet during the meeting also decided to set up a Committee of Secretaries (CoS) to consider re-farming of existing spectrum usage to increase the spectrum availability to meet the future needs of telecommunication services.

Spectrum for Railways:

During the meeting, the Cabinet also gave its green light to a proposal for spectrum requirements of rail-based urban/regional transit systems like NCRTC in the 700 MHz band for Automatic Train Protection (ATP) systems and operations.

On Wednesday, Telecom regulator Trai sought stakeholders’ views on the assignment of additional spectrum to Indian railways for safety and security applications. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in mid-2023 had informed Trai that Indian Railways has requested for an additional 5 MHz of paired spectrum in the 700 MHz band to be allocated for enhancing its safety and security systems.

In the consultation paper, Trai sought stakeholder views on whether an additional 5 MHz (paired) spectrum in the 700 MHz band should be assigned to Indian Railways (IR) for its requirement related to safety and security applications, and whether spectrum harmonisation is needed to make the radiowaves assigned to Railways, and NCRTC and other RRTS/ Metro Rail Networks contiguous.

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William Murphy

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