The Cabinet has given its approval for the upcoming telecom spectrum auctions, scheduled to take place later this year. The reserve price for the auctions has been fixed at Rs 96,317 crore. All available spectrum in various bands including 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300, 2500, 3300 megahertz (MHz), and 26 gigahertz (GHz) will be up for auction. The decision aligns with recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and follows the government’s commitment to holding annual spectrum auctions, as decided in September 2021.
Revised Reserve Prices Based on TRAI Recommendations
- The reserve prices for different spectrum bands have been revised according to TRAI recommendations, using suitable indexation.
Formation of Committee for Spectrum Refarming Plans
- A committee chaired by the Cabinet Secretary will be established to finalize plans for refarming certain spectrum bands.
Projections of Lower Revenue
- Projections indicate that the auctions may generate less revenue for the government due to significant spectrum holdings by 5G operators like Jio and Airtel, who have already acquired most of the required airwaves.
Auctioning Spectrum Expiring with Certain Companies
- Spectrum held by companies undergoing insolvency, expiring in 2024, will also be put up for auction.
Strategy of Major Telecom Operators
- Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are expected to spend less on future auctions as they do not require additional airwaves. Bharti Airtel plans to renew spectrum in select circles, focusing on mid-band airwaves like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz for 5G services. Similarly, Reliance Jio will adopt a similar strategy, having already acquired substantial 5G airwaves in the previous auction.