The auction of 5G spectrum will be held on schedule and within the stipulated timeline, Minister of Communications Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Monday.
His affirmation comes at a time when telecom regulator TRAI’s 5G recommendations on spectrum pricing and other nuances, which were widely expected to come by March-end, have spilled over by a few days to early April.
Asked if 5G auction will be held as per schedule, Vaishnaw said, “absolutely”.
He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event – 2nd national conference on cybercrime investigation and digital forensics.
The spectrum auctions are slated to be conducted in 2022, to facilitate the rollout of 5G mobile services within 2022-23, by private telecom providers.
TRAI’s views on 5G auction and related nuances are crucial since they will serve as building blocks, and set the pace for the auctions and subsequent rollout of the fifth-generation services that will usher in ultra-high-speed and spawn new-age services and business models.
On March 29, a senior TRAI official had told PTI that the recommendations (on 5G spectrum pricing and other modalities) will come out within the next 7-10 days.
The telecom regulator, in November last year, had released a detailed consultation paper to discuss threadbare the modalities for auction of spectrum across multiple bands, including pricing, quantum, and other conditions – preparing the groundwork for upcoming 5G auctions.
TRAI’s comprehensive consultation paper ran into 207 pages and posed 74 questions for industry-wide discussion, touching on crucial aspects like valuation and reserve price of 5G spectrum, quantum of the spectrum, block size, eligibility conditions for participation in the auction, rollout obligations, spectrum cap, and surrender of the spectrum.
Norms will also be worked out for new frequencies such as 526-698MHz and millimetre band that is 24.25 – 28.5GHz, in addition to bands like 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz, 2500MHz, and 3300-3670MHz.
As the country gears up for the mega auction, the industry players have been making an aggressive pitch for lowering spectrum pricing.
Telecom service providers are conducting 5G trials in Delhi, Mumbai, Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Lucknow, Gurugram, Gandhinagar, Chandigarh, Pune, and Varanasi including urban, semi-urban, and rural areas.
5G Services to Be Rolled Out in a Month, Development of Indigenous 6G Stack in Progress, MoS Telecom Says
The long-awaited high-speed 5G services are expected to be rolled out in about a month, Minister of State for Telecom Devusinh Chauhan said on Monday. Addressing the inaugural event of the International Telecommunication Union’s Regional Standardisation Forum (RSF) for Asia and Oceania region, Chauhan said India is likely to deploy indigenously developed and manufactured 5G telecom gears by end of this year for 5G services.
“In about a month, 5G mobile services will roll out in the country, which will have multiplier effects on the development of all sectors. A 6G Technology Innovations Group, has also been set up, which is working towards the development of indigenous 6G stack,” Chauhan said.
He said that the government is promoting, the indigenously designed, developed and manufactured advanced telecom technology, and as a result, India today has a strong home-grown 5G mobile communications ecosystem.
“We have developed a fully indigenous 5G test bed, which will facilitate testing of 5G network elements. By the end of this year, we are likely to see indigenously developed, and manufactured 5G stack, getting deployed in rolling out 5G network in India,” the minister said.
India’s biggest ever auction of telecom spectrum that concluded on August 1 received a record Rs 1,59,100 crore worth of bids, with Mukesh Ambani’s Jio cornering nearly half of all the airwaves sold with an Rs 88,078 crore bid.
The minister said that the growth in the Indian telecom market has been spurred by the market-friendly government policies.
“We initiated a number of structural and procedural reforms in the telecom sector. These reforms have created a very positive, and forward-looking environment for the telecom industry. As a result, a recent 5G spectrum auction in India has fetched bids of $20 billion (roughly Rs 1,59,100 crore),” Chauhan said.
He said that Indian engineers have developed a set of 5G standards, which will facilitate the spread of the 5G network in rural areas.
The Department of Telecommunications also hosted an exhibition at the forum venue to showcase various indigenously developed digital products and services of India.
TRAI Seeks Views on Big Data, AI Adoption to Improve Telecom Services, Enhance Network Security
Telecom regulator TRAI on Friday floated a consultation paper to seek public views on the adoption of artificial intelligence and big data to improve telecom services and enhance network securities and efficiencies. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its consultation paper on “Leveraging artificial intelligence and Big Data in the telecommunication sector” has sought views on sectors where existing and future capabilities of the telecom networks can be used to leverage AI (artificial intelligence) and BD (big data).
The consultation paper follows a reference to the regulator from the Department of Telecom in June 2019 in which the department has sought recommendation from TRAI on leveraging AI and BD in a synchronised and effective manner to enhance the overall quality of service, spectrum management, network security and reliability.
The regulator has sought opinion on risks in the adoption of AI and BD, such as unethical use, bias in data and algorithms, privacy, model instability, regulatory and legal non-compliance, as well as ways and mechanisms to mitigate risks.
TRAI has fixed September 16 as the last date for comment on the paper and September 30 for counter comments.
Back in June, TRAI chairman P D Vaghela urged telecom companies and Wi-Fi providers to work collaboratively on developing innovative business models that would unleash combined power of mobile and Wi-Fi technology to improve digital infrastructure.
He called upon telecom service providers and Wi-Fi hotspot providers to work together and come up with India-specific business models.
Studies have found that in 5G countries such as South Korea, the UK, the US, Japan, Australia and Germany, smartphone users on average consumed between 1.7 and 2.7 times more mobile data after the introduction of fifth-generation services, as compared to 4G.
Over 5 Crore Complaints Received Against Telcos Over Mobile Services in FY22, MoS Communications Says
More than five crore complaints were received against telecom operators related to mobile services during 2021-22, with about 54 per cent of them against Airtel, followed by Vodafone Idea, Parliament was informed on Friday. Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, gave data on complaints received against various telecom service providers related to mobile telephony during 2021-22, as per which the number for Airtel stood at 2,99,68,519, and for Vodafone Idea at 2,17,85,460.
The number of such complaints against Reliance Jio was 25.8 lakh.
In all, nearly 5.5 crore complaints related to cellular mobile telephone services were registered by consumers through helpline numbers of operators at complaint centres during 2021-22.
The number of complaints against state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) stood at 8.8 lakh and 48,170 respectively.
“The complaints received at complaint centres through customer helpline numbers are resolved by the concerned service provider,” the minister said.
Where the complaints are not resolved by the service providers, the complainant can approach the public grievance wing of the Department of Telecommunications. All the grievances so received are monitored and resolved through the Centralised Public Grievance Redressal and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) portal.
“The number of grievances received during 2021-22 through CPGRAMS portal was 58911, out of which 58,224 were resolved,” the minister added.
To another question, Chauhan said the number of BSNL customers who opted for network port out stood at 52.3 lakh in 2021-22, while the subscribers porting in were at 28.8 lakh.
Stiff competition in the telecom sector drove both port in and port out for BSNL, he added.
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