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Spectrum auction in July - December, says Telecom Secretary
The government is not worried about unsold spectrum
The government is planning for a fresh round of spectrum auction between July and December and will send recommendations to the telecom regulator soon, Telecom Secretary said.
"We are looking to do a spectrum auction every year so that telcos can plan their needs, whether they need to trade it, buy it from someone else or come to the auction. This ensures complete certainty and policy stability, telecom secretary J S Deepak told reporters on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress.
"And we are soon going to send a request to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for recommendations for the next auction, which I believe would be held between July and December. It will be annual auction done every year. How much of spectrum to be sold, the price, newer spectrum bands - all issues will be considered," he said.
"The government is not worried about unsold spectrum," he added.
Deepak said, "We are not worried if there is no demand for spectrum. We don't get hassled if spectrum remains unsold. But we would like to give opportunity to the industry to buy spectrum as and when they need."
However, Bharti chairman Sunil Mittal had said earlier that he does not see any spectrum sale in 2017-18 as operators had tanked up on spectrum.
The last spectrum auction ended in just five days of its commencement and the government has raised Rs.65,789.12 crore in revenue and there were no takers for the expensive 700MHz and 900MHz bands.
The 700MHz band alone was expected to fetch Rs. 4 lakh crores for the government.
On bringing 5G in the country, he said, "we were late in 3G and 4G, so we are keen that we should not be deprived of 5G. It has a wider application for the industry including smart cities and management of grids. So we are keen to be with the world."