Mumbai, Jul 30: The government expects the rollout of 5G services to start from early October in the country, Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Saturday. "As soon as the spectrum auction ends, within a few days itself, we will allocate the spectrum. We expect that the 5G roll-out will happen from the beginning of October and within a year or so, we should have a good rollout in the country," the Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters here.
The 5G rollout will probably be the fastest compared to many geographies, the minister said on the sidelines of the Telecom Investor roundtable: The Indian 5G Opportunity. "We believe that we will probably buck the trend of having a much faster rollout of 5G compared to many other geographies since our other costs are significantly under control," he added.
Bidding for 5G spectrum entered the fifth day on Saturday amid continued interest for radiowaves from players such as Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. When asked whether the significant presence of Reliance Jio and Airtel will result in a duopoly, the minister said it will not happen as the reforms have brought in stability in the industry and there is healthy competition. "Duopoly will not happen, the September reforms have resulted in good stability in the industry, we are looking at new players to enter the segment, and there is going to be good healthy competition in the sector. BSNL will emerge as a good market balancer," he noted.
The 5G auction is doing well, which shows that the industry is taking off, and the results are very good. Close to Rs 1.49 lakh crore has been committed by the industry for buying spectrum, this shows how the sector is maturing, he added. The minister also stated that the government is planning to change the entire legal structure that will enable the telecom industry to grow seamlessly.
"We have to make a modern law so that countries the world over emulate our legal structure as a global benchmark, since this is a global industry, not an isolated industry," he said. Spectrum as a resource should be utilized in a technology-neutral manner, options such as leasing spectrum, using 4G spectrum for 5G, etc. should all be allowed, these should be reformed so that there is a degree of certainty for the industry, the minister said.
"So, next is changing the entire legal structure, we are still governed by an 1885 law, a 1933 law and a 1950 law, the prime minister has abolished around 1,500 laws, we are going to clean up the telecom legal framework so that there is no disruption to the industry," he said. "We will create a legal structure for the telecom sector, we invite your suggestions, read the consultation paper uploaded, the target should be to take it up in next year's Monsoon session. So by August of 2023, we hope to have a new legal structure," he added. On the Production Linked Incentive Scheme, Vaishnaw said the telecom sector fetched a very good response, close to 31 companies got permission under PLI, and close to a lakh crore incremental production is going on under the scheme.
"Over the next 2-3 years, we hope to achieve similar success in telecom equipment manufacturing, like our success in electronics manufacturing, we hope that many of these firms will become exporters and make their mark in the world," he added.