India may allocate 5G trial spectrum in June

07 Mar 2019

The Indian government is reportedly planning to allocate spectrum to mobile operators for 5G trial services in June.

A panel established to set the terms for 5G trials is expected to soon begin deliberations on the spectrum that will be allocated for the trials, as well as the trial time period and other factors, Indo-Asian News Service reported, citing government sources.

Operators could then commence trials in July or August, and a spectrum auction for commercial 5G services may take place from September onwards.

According to the report, the Department of Telecom is currently in the process of appointing an auctioneer and drafting bid documents for the online auction.

Incumbent operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea have reportedly engaged vendors including Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia over the proposed trials.

But the mobile industry has expressed concern that the expected high cost of 5G rollouts could further damage the financial performance of what is already a highly indebted industry.

The market's three operators – which also include Reliance Jio Infocomm – have an estimated total net debt of nearly 8 trillion rupees ($114.15 billion), due in part to high spectrum prices during previous auctions.

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