Indian ban on Chinese vendors could lower 5G spectrum prices

Indian ban on Chinese vendors could lower 5G spectrum prices

Chinese telecommunication equipment vendors could be banned from Indian 5G trials and auctions after a Department of Telecommunications (DoT) recommendation, but could that mean lower spectrum prices?

The reasons given by the DoT committee that made the recommendation are, according to Indian news reports, that the committee does not want to grant remote access to Chinese equipment makers and does not want data to leave the country.

If this recommendation is acted on it will add to the difficulties faced by Chinese companies after the Indian government imposed restrictions on public procurement from countries sharing their border with India.

All of which may actually benefit operators unhappy with India’s proposed 5G spectrum prices. News reports suggest that the government may consider lowering the base price of 5G spectrum to compensate operators if they have to pay more for buying non-Chinese equipment.

Despite hints that Indian companies, notably Reliance Jio, might eventually be able to sell 5G kit, it’s reasonable to argue that without Huawei and ZTE there would only be Ericsson, Nokia, and Samsung, whose prices would be higher than their Chinese competitors.

India’s suggested 5G spectrum base price may be the highest in the world and certainly that could mean limited participation in any auction – when and if the auction actually happens. Some 4G spectrum, to be auctioned this year, could be used for 5G services but any 5G-specific spectrum isn’t going to be sold off until sometime in 2021.

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