India will be holding a 5G spectrum auction by the end of July, with frequencies set aside for private mobile networks.
This was announced by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 72 GHz of spectrum will be auctioned for a 20-year tenure across frequency bands including 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz. According to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), 5G will be rolled out first in 13 major cities including Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Jamnagar, Hyderabad, Pune, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
All three telecom operators, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel are expected to participate in the upcoming auction. In addition, enterprises can acquire spectrum directly from the DoT to set up private networks to support applications in IoT and AI.
Bandwidth reserved for private networks has been met with mixed sentiment. On one hand, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) argues that this could diminish revenue. On the other hand, the Broadband India Forum (BFI) claims that this is a misconception.