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Telecom spectrum auctions for mobile phone services approved by cabinet at base price of Rs 96,317 crore

The Cabinet's nod comes just before the expiration of Bharti Airtel's spectrum in five circles, with another set to expire in March.

Edited By: Akshit Tyagi New Delhi Published on: February 09, 2024 7:40 IST
Mobile tower
Image Source : PIXABAY Mobile tower

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved auctions in eight spectrum bands for mobile phone services at a base price of Rs 96,317.65 crore, said information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur.

The spectrum auction encompasses bands ranging from 800 MHz to 26 GHz, totaling 10,523.8 MHz. Thakur clarified that the reserve price was determined using suitable indexation and reiterated the necessity for existing telecom service providers to continue utilising spectrum by paying the auction-determined prices during the interim period to ensure uninterrupted telecom services.

The Cabinet's approval comes just before the expiration of Bharti Airtel's spectrum in five circles, with another set to expire in March. Vodafone Idea also faces expiring spectrum in West Bengal and UP West, requiring permission to maintain usage.

In a move towards enhancing passenger safety, the Cabinet has decided on spectrum re-allocation and additional allocation for the transport system. Notably, the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) has been provisionally assigned the 5 MHz spectrum in the 700 MHz band, with plans to assign this to multiple regional and urban rail-based transit systems. Furthermore, additional spectrum in the 700 MHz band will be reserved for Indian Railways, aligning with the national roll-out of Kavach to bolster passenger safety.

The decision also includes the formation of a committee under the Cabinet Secretary to finalise a plan for re-farming certain spectrum bands, indicating a strategic approach towards spectrum management.

Thakur highlighted the significant strides made in telecom infrastructure deployment, with over 4.2 lakh base stations established in 740 districts within 14 months. Additionally, India's rapid deployment of 5G services positions it as the world's second-largest 5G ecosystem, boasting over 13 crore subscribers.

(With PTI inputs)

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