Telecom companies Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel may have appetite to buy 4G spectrum in the proposed auction of radio waves to address demand in data consumption, industry body COAI said on Friday.
The government is planning to hold the next round of spectrum auction by October this year in which it would sell around 8,000 megahertz of radio waves across several bands at a cumulative value of around Rs 3.8 lakh crore that can be used for 4G services.
“I think Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have indicated they will be interested in acquiring 4G spectrum because of the rise in demand and traffic pattern has changed. Industry is ready for augmenting 4G spectrum,” COAI Director General Rajan S Mathews told PTI.
The telecom sector body had earlier voiced against the spectrum auction due to financial stress in the sector.
The government has relaxed payment terms for auctions that were held earlier as well as for the upcoming round.
Earlier the companies were required to pay for the spectrum purchased in auction in eight annual instalments which has now been changed to 16 annual instalments.
The DoT has selected public sector firm MSTC Ltd as auctioneer for conducting the next round of spectrum sale.
The public sector enterprise executed coal auctions in early 2015 that were held after the Supreme Court cancelled allocation of coal mines in September 2014. It is also holding auctions for various central and state government departments.
This is for the first time MSTC has been selected for handling spectrum auction.
The government plans to auction radiowaves in 700Mhz, 800Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz, 2300 Mhz and 2500 Mhz bands.
“There is some amount of spectrum that will come up for renewal but the demand is largely for augmenting the existing capacities. Vodafone Idea have merged so we don’t have an exact idea of their need,” Mathews said.
The DoT is learnt to have dropped plans to auction spectrum in the frequency range of 3,300 -3,600 Mhz band that was proposed to be used for 5G services.