Industry leaders on Thursday hailed the ongoing 5G spectrum auction that has touched nearly Rs 1.5 lakh crore in just two days of bidding, saying it is a watershed moment for the country and its communication and information services. Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman of the India Cellular and Electronic Association (ICEA) told IANS that the 5G auctions have also attracted robust investor interest.
“Although lowering of base prices would have further helped, steps such as no spectrum usage charges and no requirement of submitting a financial bank guarantee equivalent to one annual installment would be supportive for the industry and consumers,a Mohindroo said. The government has so far received bids worth Rs 1.49 lakh crore amid aggressive bidding by Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel.
IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the telecom sector is brimming with new energy, expressing happiness over the response received for the pricey 700 MHz band which was left unsold in the last auctions. Bands such as 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz saw the biggest investment bids.
According to Abhishek Malhotra, Managing Partner at TMT Law Practice, apart from the 5G airwaves that are being put up for auction, the more interesting development relates to the policy push for bandwidth to be provided by satellite communications.
“The growth of Satcom, especially in the light of the Spacecom policy being finalised, will be the real game changer,” Malhotra told IANS.
The government is set to approve the much-awaited Spacecom Policy 2020 anytime soon aims at meeting the growing demands of space-based communication requirements of the nation and advancements in the relevant technologies for self-sustenance in areas of commercial, secured and societal.
According to Mohindroo, along with bringing efficient telecom and broadband services, the 5G services will bring a whole lot of change across sectors and upgrade them for good and usher in a new era of innovation and eventually ease the lives of people. “It would be the backbone of the much talked about Industry 4.0,” he added.
The mobile phone and appliances industry has already geared up for the 5G spectrum waves and the innovation it would help bring in. Mohindroo said that the 5G services, once rolled out, would be a life-changing experience for the consumers and the industry too would take giant leaps going ahead. According to Neil Shah, Vice President of Research, Counterpoint Research, opening of spectrum beyond telcos “is a bold and welcome step to empower tech companies, enterprises and ecosystem players to build Private 5G networks”.