India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has reportedly sent a reference to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to ask for a reserve price for a number of bands to be sold in the next 5G spectrum auction – but they don’t seem to include 6GHz.
There was some unsold spectrum from last year’s sale, including the 600MHz and 2300MHz bands, for which there were no bids. This will go on sale yet again. The sale will also include spectrum in or above the 37GHz band. Thus the spectrum on offer will ranging from 600MHz to at least 37GHz .
However, as many commentators expected, the lack of a decision on who gets 6GHz has meant that 6GHz will not be part of the planned sale.
In a dispute played out in many countries, operators want auctions for 6GHz while Wi-Fi proponents would like access to as much of the band as possible. But the DoT so has yet to take a final call on the matter.
TRAI will come out with a consultation paper on the auction in the coming weeks. In any case, a highly competitive bidding process is unlikely. Vodafone Idea (Vi) has its own financial problems to deal with and is way behind rivals Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel, which the Indian press expects to be the main bidders, in 5G rollout. That said, Bharti Airtel and Vi have permits expiring in 2024 in a number of areas.
In the last auction, which finished on 1 August 2022, 71% of spectrum on offer was sold.