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India’s 5G spectrum auction starts on 26 July 2022 and closes on 1 August. After 40 auctions spanning over seven days, Reliance Jio was the highest bidder. Boasting more than INR 880.78 billion for 24.740GHz radio waves across 700MHz, 800MHz, 1800MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands, Bharti Airtel was the next highest bidder and bid Rs.430.84 billion for 19.867GHz radio spectrum across. 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz Bands Vodafone Idea quoted Rs.187.99 crore for 800MHz, 2100MHz, 2500MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands for a total radio value of 6.228GHz. Finally, Adani Group bids on the 26GHz band to set up a network. private telecommunication network for their organization

Telecom operators such as Airtel and Jio are concerned about the private captive networks of large tech companies gaining access to 5G spectrum during the auction. This is why the government has issued new guidelines on the eligibility and scope of private network licenses. The rationalization is to enable innovation in enterprise-grade 5G and power-intensive Industry 4.0 applications such as machine-to-machine (M2M), IoT, AI, etc.

On June 14, the Cabinet of India, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved an auction of radio waves capable of providing fifth-generation (5G) telecommunication services, including ultra-high-speed internet, to both telecom operators and non-telecommunications enterprises.

The auction, which began on 26 July 2022, started at the reserve price quoted by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). These reserve prices are 35-40 percent below 2018 levels. Since 2022, spectrum usage fees (SUCs) on radio frequencies have been canceled. Reduce the effective cost incurred by telecom operators by 40-50 percent.

Once the auction ends, 5G rollouts in India are expected to begin in August 2022, initially in some Tier 1 cities. A full launch across the country This includes Level 2 and Level 3 cities and remote areas. Likely to be accomplished by 2023/2024, Indian telecoms are focusing on Sub-6GHz networks with longer mmWave 5G ranges.

The federal government is also trying to enable the development and establishment of Captive Non-Public Networks (CNPN) / Private Captive Networks to catalyze new wave innovations in Industry 4.0, such as machine-to-machine communication, the Internet of Things (IoT). Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Automotive Industry Health care, agriculture, energy and other sectors The former telecom operator expressed concerns about the move. It asked the government to limit its scope to specialized facilities and factory automation. so that private captive networks do not cause interference with public networks

India’s 5G Spectrum Allocation: Timetable

according to the said announcement A total of 72097.85 megahertz (MHz) spectrum will be auctioned with a life of 20 years. Auctions will be held for spectrum in nine frequency bands, including:

  • Low: 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz.
  • Mid: 3300 MHz
  • High: 26 gigahertz (GHz)

Telecom operators (TSPs) are expected to use the mid- and high-frequency spectrum to launch 5G-based services that can provide increased speed and capabilities.

Nine Band Spectrum Auction Calendar 2022

Issuing a notification of intent to apply (NLA)

June 15

meeting before bidding

June 20

Last day for NIA clarifications

June 22

Statement to the NIA

June 30

Last day for submitting the application

July 8

Publishing the applicant’s ownership details

July 12

Certificate of Compliance for Ownership of the Bidder

July 14

Qualifications of preliminary bidders

July 18

Last date for withdrawal of application

19 July

list of final bidders

July 20

mock auction

22 and 23 July

start auction

July 26

Successful auction payment

Within 10 calendar days from the date of issuance of the requirement sheet

Extended until 17 August 2022

Create a 20-year installment plan, with the first installment by August 17

Auction Eligibility Criteria

  1. Any licensee with a Unified Access Service License (UASL)/ Unified License (UL) who has access to services for the Licensed Service Area (LSA), or
  2. Licensees who meet UL eligibility criteria with access to the service. and proceed to obtain UL with access rights to the Service; or
  3. Any entity operating to obtain UL with permission to access the service through a new nominee pursuant to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) licensing criteria/conditions can bid for 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz spectrum. , 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz & 26 GHz Bands subject to other notice requirements.

Who are the successful Indian 5G bidders? and in which band

India’s 5G spectrum auction starts on 26 July 2022 and closes on 1 August after 40 auctions spread over seven days. This exceeded the government estimate for three days.

  1. Reliance Jio is the highest bidder. It invested more than IDR 880.78 billion for 24.740GHz radio frequency across 700MHz, 800MHz, 1800MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands.
  2. Bharti Airtel was the next highest bidder and bid Rs.430.84 billion for 19.867GHz radio frequency across 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands.
  3. Vodafone Idea is quoted at Rs.187.99 billion for 800MHz, 2100MHz, 2500MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz frequencies for a total of 6.228GHz radio frequencies.
  4. Lastly, Adani Group is offering INR 2.12 billion on the 26GHz band to set up a private telecommunication network for their enterprise.

Payments by successful bidders can be made for a period of 20 years, which is also the term of the right to use these spectrum. All participants must pay first. If the installment strategy is chosen, by August 17, Adani Group is reported to be required to make an advance payment of Rs 2.12 billion.

The federal government earned Rs.1501.73 billion from the sale of 51,236 MHz radio waves, 72,098MHz of radio waves were auctioned.

Is there a scope for the participation of foreign players?

It must be noted that Unified Licenses can only be granted to companies in India. Therefore, foreign applicants must establish or purchase Indian companies to obtain a centralized license.

However, they are allowed to participate in the auction directly and later apply for a Unified License through an Indian company. in which they hold equity with a maximum of 100 percent foreign capital under the automatic route under investment restrictions from land border sharing countries according to the existing guidelines

Big technology allocates spectrum for the first time.

While 5G spectrum in all nine bands will be auctioned to telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, the application invitation announcement indicates that it is the first time that a large tech company can allocate 5G spectrum for. Private captive networks can be obtained in the following ways:

  • A TSP with access to the service may provide a private captive network as a service to an organization using network resources over the Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN).
  • A TSP with access to the service may create a separate private captive network for the organization using spectrum. International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) received from them.
  • Organizations that set up private captive networks may obtain spectrum to lease from TSPs with service access permissions. and create their own separate network The required license terms and conditions and spectrum leasing guidelines must be issued by the DoT.
  • Organizations that set up private captive networks may obtain spectrum directly from the DoT and create their own separate networks. In this regard, the DoT will conduct a need study and afterwards seek guidance from TRAI to assign the spectrum to the said organization. say directly

5G is expected to be able to connect 10 times faster than 4G networks, but more importantly. 5G low latency networks offer greater potential for applications running on sensitive services such as telemedicine. Autonomous driving, online games, etc. This makes it very attractive for large and private tech networks.

Telecom equipment makers such as Nokia, Ericsson and Samsung, which have been experimenting with 5G technology in the country, see the announcement as a huge opportunity. Industry watchers hope that enterprise 5G will be less price sensitive compared to the mass consumer space. in which Chinese players like Huawei play an important role.

Why are telecom operators worried about private captive networks accessing 5G spectrum?

Indian Cellular Operators Association (COAI), which includes Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea, as its members expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s decision to allocate spectrum to the field. These new privates were created to meet the same license fees and GST payment requirements as existing telecom operators.

In addition, these CNPNs are subject to the necessary technical and regulatory safeguards. This ensures that such networks remain truly private and isolated. to avoid interference with public networks This includes norms such as storing call logs/data for two years. Order records for three years Keeping a record of software updates and certification of data translation with remote access from within the country only. and there is no remote access from outside India.

COAI also wanted clarity on defining the scope of the CNPN and proposed limiting machine-to-machine communication within CNPN premises. Additionally, citing national security concerns, COAI said these networks should up to comply with the specified member verification norms This ensures that there is adequate auditing and traceability of all users.

Based on these recommendations by telecom operators The government has released new guidelines for private captive networks.

Guidelines for Private Captive Network Licenses

The Indian Telecommunication Department has released new guidelines on 27 June 2022 for spectrum licensing for private captive networks. which was issued under section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. These guidelines are as follows:


  • Applicant must be an Indian company registered under the Companies Act 2013.
  • Applicants must be in possession of a geographic area or property. (Owner/Lease) where such private captive network is established.
  • for direct government assignment of spectrum Applicants must have a minimum net worth of Rs.1 billion.

License scope

  • Criteria stipulates that the license cannot be used for telecommunications business.
  • License holders may establish a private indoor/onsite captive network for their own use within the license processing area. The license operating area refers to the said area in India. where the license holder is the owner of a geographic area or property (Owner/Lease) where such private captive network is established.

According to the official announcement released on August 10, 2022, the Telecom Department has invited applications from various organizations. willing to set up a non-public network to conduct a study of the requirements for direct spectrum assignment to agencies for this purpose A module has been launched on the Saralsanchar portal to conduct needs studies.

This article was first published on 21 June 2022 and was last updated on 12 August 2022.

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