India’s proposed 5G auction prices are too high, says Telecom lobby COAI

India’s top telecoms lobby group on Tuesday demanded the country’s regulator revisit recommendations for the auction of 5G spectrum bands, saying the proposed base prices were too high.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday recommended a 35-40% cut from its earlier proposed base prices for the auction of various allotted spectrums for 5G networks.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has, however, been demanding a 90% reduction.

India’s government is gearing up for its next-generation 5G airwaves auction later this year, which is expected to see participation from the country’s three main carriers – Vodafone Idea (VODA.NS), Bharti Airtel Ltd (BRTI.NS) and Reliance Industries Ltd‘s (RELI.NS) Jio. All three are core members of COAI.

The group also criticised TRAI’s recommendation to directly allocate spectrum for enterprises to build 5G private networks. It said that enterprises currently contribute 30-40% of the overall telecoms industry revenue, adding such private networks will ‘disincentivise’ the telco companies from investing in infrastructure.

Next-generation 5G networks, which can provide data speeds at least 20 times faster than 4G, are seen as vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.

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Divyansh Singh

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