Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Director-General Rajan Mathews said there could be some takers for 4G spectrum in the auctions, which the government hopes to conduct in the current financial year.
“In spectrum auctions, for sub-1GHz, it is possible that someone might want to pick up some spectrum for 4G but 5G pricing is still the main challenge. Our members have indicated that at the current prices, it does not make sense to invest this kind of money,” Mathews said.
On Monday, the Broadband India Forum (BIF) had claimed that radio waves unsold in past auctions, because they were priced high, had an implication of Rs 5.4 lakh crore due to economic benefits lost, and that the government needs to ensure adequacy and “reasonable” rates for upcoming 5G auction.
Spectrum price in India is, by far, the most important factor in determining the fate of an auction, its success or failure, BIF had said, adding that prices should trigger maximum sale and, hence, optimal realisation of direct and indirect benefits, and not be driven by short-term financial gains.