India’s federal cabinet approve a plan for selling airwaves in an auction to improve quality and coverage of networks in the world’s second-biggest telecom market. Government will sell airwaves of value 963.2 billion rupees or $11.6 billion at reserve price, as per the statement of India’s Ministry of Communications.
A total 10,523.1 megahertz airwaves in eight bands, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300, 2500, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz will be up for sale.
Government didn’t give a firm timeline for the auction.
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The airwaves auction, which will include airwaves held by firms undergoing insolvency, will give government finances and help narrow budget deficit in the South Asian nation.
Also airwaves will improve the quality of telecom services and widen the coverage for the consumers, as per Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur.
It will also help major Indian wireless carriers, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd., to boost services in the nation with more than a billion phone users.
The local carriers launch 5G services late 2022, stoking the ongoing data service boom in India.
The market is lock into an oligopolistic structure, curbing one carrier’s ability to decide pricing.
No operator can raise its tariffs unless its rivals do the same or it risks losing subscribers.
In the last auction held in 2022, Indian government raked in $19 billion with Reliance Jio emerging the top buyer spending more than $11 billion on airwaves.