Trai will not recommend reduction in 5G prices

BARCELONA: Telecom regulator Trai said on Wednesday that it will not recommend any reduction in 5G spectrum reserve prices even as Bharti Airtel said it will not participate in the auction of the airwaves due to excessive pricing.

“There is no question at all of making any changes to the prices, which we have recommended for 5G spectrum,” Trai chairman R S Sharma said on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress.

Sharma said prices suggested by Trai are “reasonable” and have been worked upon after detailed assessment. “We stand by our recommendation. However, a final decision will be taken by the government.” He added that the department of telecom has not asked any major questions around spectrum pricing.

Sharma’s statement comes a day after Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said reserve prices of 5G spectrum are too high.“We can (participate), but we will not at these prices because it makes no sense. The telecom department can keep trying — they had two failed auctions and do they want to have five more failed auctions? … India will get into 5G, but the only thing that will stand in the way is right pricing for spectrum. The government can decide if they want to do it in one go or three times,” Mittal said.

The government intends to auction 5G spectrum over the next one year as India is willing to join the high-speed bandwagon in line with the global trend. The government is keen to begin trials for 5G applications very soon and is looking at participation of telecom and network equipment companies.

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