No reference for price revision of 700 MHz, new 5G bands: Trai officialNEW DELHI: The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has so far “made no reference” to the sectoral regulator for the base price revision of airwaves in the 700 megahertz band, and to further share views on the new spectrum bands for the rollout of fifth-generation or 5G technology, a senior regulatory official told ETTelecom.

“We have not received any reference from the telecom department to rework on the pricing for the spectrum in the 700 megahertz band, and have so far not asked to undertake pricing study on new frequencies meant for 5G services,” an official who did not wish to be named said.

In March this year, the coveted 700 megahertz spectrum band did not find any buyer as telecom carriers perceive the base price as too high to bid despite a 50% cost reduction to Rs 6,568 crore per unit from a whopping Rs 11,485 crore per megahertz in 2016 auction.

Following no bid activity in the 700 megahertz radiowaves, telecom secretary Anshu Prakash said that “nothing will prevent” it from being sold in the next auction, as the so-called premium band did not find any taker.

Sunil Mittal-drven Bharti Airtel said that the band had no economic case for operators due to high base price. Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea too remained wary during the sale.

However, Prakash believed that the 5G ecosystem would continue to develop in the 700 megahertz band, and could be put on sale together with the 3300 -3600 megahertz frequencies, for deploying next generation commercial services.

Experts believe that the coveted 700 megahertz band has a higher coverage competency and requires lesser capital expenditure (capex) from service providers when compared to other frequency ranges being used currently.

In India, DoT’s Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) oversees frequency allocation and in coordination from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) identifies bands for mobile services.Trai’s official said that the regulator was ready to further work on a fine print particularly the pricing of the new radio wave bands for seamless 5G coverage once it receives a communication from the department.

Sources, however said that the DoT has readied its plan to designate a larger quantum of airwaves for the rollout of next generation of services including an additional 60 units in the 3600 megahertz range, and has readied its plan to include millimeter wave and mid-band airwaves for 5G rollout.

In 2018, Trai recommended 3300-3600 megahertz range frequencies for the deployment of 5G networks of which 125 units with the ministry of defence (MoD) and the department of space (DoS) are likely to be vacated for commercial mobile services.

Telcos were demanding a larger chunk of spectrum to roll out the next generation of services and eying potential enterprise offerings centered around the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and robotics.

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