The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) on Friday asked the Department of Telecom (DoT) to delay the 5G spectrum auction by at least 3 to 5 years to enable the government get proper valuations for the bandwidth resource. "If 5G spectrum is auctioned now, the license fees would be frozen for the next 20 years and the government will lose money. Also the operators will also lose since they will be able to monetize bandwidth only after 3-5 years" PHDCCI Chairman (Telecom Committee) Sandeep Aggarwal said.
The DoT intends to auction 5G spectrum sometime this year after having already missed their 2019 deadline. Aggarwal also said that the government should not charge license fees to the operators for the next 2-3 years after the auction. "The government should also charge reasonable prices for 5G waves to make it sustainable as present economic scenario is not good," he said. The base price for the 5G spectrum auction has been proposed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and the government is not keen to reduce prices of 5G spectrum for the next round of auctions.
In its budget suggestions, the chamber has also recommended to declare broadband a "utility". According to Aggarwal, the Centre, states and Local authorities should be obliged to improve building codes to include a common duct along all roads from national highways to colony roads. "Local bodies will also need to make arrangements so that all new houses/buildings have high quality broadband connections<" the chamber said.
Aggarwal noted that Indian telecom operators have already invested $150 billion current technologies and will be investing $100 billion more to roll out newer ones. The industry body also suggested that the government launch a Telecom Finance Corporation to provide domestic line of credit to telecom firms to procure domestic-made equipment.