India’s TRAI is asked for an extension to 5G consultation paper response

India’s TRAI is asked for an extension to 5G consultation paper response

Indian operators and network technology providers apparently want an extension of the deadline for responses to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) consultation paper on the sale of 5G spectrum.

The Economic Times reports that last week the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represent India’s big three operators Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, sent a letter to TRAI requesting the extension.

This happened after TRAI released a consultation paper in late November and sought industry comments by 28 December, and counter-comments by 11 January 11 2022. However, that may not now happen. Industry players have asked for an extension of the response time to allow them to provide what are described as “improved and detailed responses”.

It seems there has not yet been any response to the discussion paper, which itself was the result of a request from India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for TRAI to provide its views on the auction of spectrum for 5G applications – in particular base price, band plan, block size, and amount of spectrum to be auctioned in a number of bands.

This was in part necessitated by the Indian government’s recent reform decisions relating to spectrum auctions, though it’s also likely that the process is also intended to take account of the fact that operators and lobbying groups are unhappy with spectrum pricing in general.

We reported earlier this week that the pricing recommendations requested from TRAI by DoT are unlikely to appear much before March, meaning 5G auctions are now likely to take place in July next year.

Could the latest news mean even longer delays? TRAI is apparently not keen on any extension, but a final decision has not yet been made.

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