Telecom Minister asks service providers to prepare for 5G rollout

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Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnav on Thursday asked telecom service providers to gear up for 5G launch after issuing spectrum allocation letters. For the first time, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued spectrum assignment letters on the same day that successful bidders of radio waves made advance payments.

Vaishnav wrote on Twitter, “5G Update: Spectrum assignment letter issued. Requested TSP to prepare for 5G launch.” The Department of Telecommunications has received payment of around Rs 17,876 crore from service providers – Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Adani Data Network and Vodafone Idea – for the spectrum won in the recently held auction.

The country’s biggest ever auction of telecom spectrum received bids worth a record Rs 1.5 lakh crore, with Mukesh Ambani’s Jio bagging nearly half of all airwaves sold with a bid of Rs 87,946.93 crore.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises, said his company Bharti Airtel received the spectrum allotment letter within hours of making the advance payment to DoT.

“In my more than 30 years of firsthand experience with DoT, this is a first! Business is as it should be. Leadership at work – at the top and at the top of telecom. What a change! Change that can transform this country – a developed Give strength to your dreams of becoming a nation,” Mittal said.

Airtel acquired 19,867.8 MHz spectrum by acquiring a pan-India footprint of 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands and selectively purchased radio waves in the low and mid-band spectrum for Rs 43,039.63 crore.

“Airtel paid Rs 8,312.4 crore towards spectrum dues and within hours the allotment letter for the specified frequency band was provided.

Mittal said, “The E-band allocation was given with spectrum as promised. No fuss, no follow-up, no running around the corridors and no tall claims. It’s ease of working in all its glory. It is,” Mittal said.

Airtel has said that it will start 5G service this month.

While all telecom operators have opted to pay in 20 annual instalments, Bharti Airtel has paid Rs 8,312.4 crore, equivalent to four annual instalments.

Reliance Jio has paid Rs 7,864.78 crore, Vodafone Idea has paid Rs 1,679.98 crore and Adani Data Networks has paid Rs 18.94 crore.

Gautam Adani’s group has bid Rs 211.86 crore for the 400 MHz band, which is not used to offer public telephony services.

An Adani Group spokesperson said, “On August 8, 2022, Adani Data Network Limited made a payment of Rs 18.9 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing). This is the first of 20 equal annual installments.”

Subhrakant Panda, Senior Vice President, FICCI said that the ease, speed and transparency of the 5G spectrum auction process is a living example of the much improved ‘ease of doing business’.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said the approval process in central ministries is becoming faster and more seamless.

“A series of facilitative reforms aimed at rationalization and digitization of regulatory processes and procedures have started yielding results at the grassroots level. The reform measures include covering all critical components of the entire business life cycle from inception to exit. Ease of doing business,” CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.

Assocham Secretary General Deepak Sood said the ease of doing business in India, as is clearly evident in the seamless and speedy auction and allocation of 5G spectrum, has improved significantly over the years.

“A transparent regulatory environment as well as a series of reforms under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has resulted in an EODB, which is being noted by global and domestic investors,” Sood said.


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