Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday asked telecom service providers to gear up for 5G launch, post the issuance of spectrum allocation letters.
In a first, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has issued spectrum assignment letters on the same day the successful bidders of radio waves made upfront payments. "5G Update:Spectrum assignment letter issued. Requesting TSPs to prepare for 5G launch," Vaishnaw wrote on a social media platform.
The DoT has received payment of around Rs 17,876 crore from service providers -- Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Adani Data Networks and Vodafone Idea for spectrum they won in a recent auction.
The country's biggest ever auction of telecom spectrum received a record Rs 1.5 lakh crore worth of bids, with Mukesh Ambani's Jio cornering nearly half of all the airwaves sold with Rs 87,946.93 crore bid.
Bharti Enterprises founder and chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said that his company Bharti Airtel received a spectrum allocation letter within a few hours of making an upfront payment to the DoT.
"In my over 30 years of first-hand experience with DoT, this is a first! Business as it should be. Leadership at work-Right at the top and at the helm of telecom. What a change! Change that can transform this nation – power its dreams to be a developed nation," Mittal said.
Airtel acquired 19,867.8 MHz spectrum by securing a pan-India footprint of 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands and selected purchase of radio waves in low and mid-band spectrum for Rs 43,039.63 crore.
"Airtel paid Rs 8,312.4 crore towards spectrum dues and was provided with the allocation letter for the designated frequency bands within hours. E band allocation was given along with spectrum as promised.No Fuss, No Follow Up, No running around the corridors and No tall claims. This is ease of doing business at work in its full glory," Mittal said.
Airtel has said that it will launch 5G service this month. While all telecom operators have opted to make payments in 20 annual installments, Bharti Airtel paid Rs 8,312.4 crore equivalent to four annual installments.
Reliance Jio has made payments of Rs 7,864.78 crore, Vodafone Idea Rs 1,679.98 crore and Adani Data Networks Rs 18.94 crore. Richest Indian Gautam Adani's group has placed bids worth Rs 211.86 crore for 400 MHz in a band that is not used for offering public telephony services.