DoT considering Telco’s’ pleas on notice period for new service
The requests by Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel to halve the notice period for starting services based on a new technology to six months may be considered by the telecom department. This move by the giants may increase bidding interest in the upcoming spectrum auction.
An official aware of the department said, “Both Airtel and Jio have written to reduce the pre-intimation notice period for a new service. Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is considering their requests and it is possible to reduce the notice period from one year to six months.”
If DoT approves the requests of the companies, the telcos will be allowed to offer 5G services on 4G spectrum bands such as 700 Mhz or 800 Mhz. This also supports the faster mobile standard and can be purchased in the March auction.
Jio has declared that it is 5G-ready. The company said that it has developed its own eco-system which will make the telco a global 5G vendor.
According to an official, “Right now, 5G is not getting auctioned. But tomorrow if the Telco’s decide to roll out 5G on technology-neutral spectrum bands, they should be able to do so. No one should point out that 5G as an offering was not mentioned at the time of auction.”
The official further added, “Operators may be tempted to add spectrum if they are able to offer 5G services on spectrum bands that will be made available in March.”
Currently, telcos can offer services based on any technology on any airwave but need to intimate the DoT a year in advance if they plan to start a service based on a new technology on a particular spectrum band.
According to an analyst, Jio’s request was understandable but Airtel’s request was a surprise.
A senior telecom analyst said, “Airtel does not want to remain behind in case 5G is possible in the given bands, considering it did lag in the 4G rollout when compared to rival Jio.”
From 1st March, Department of Telecommunications aims to sell 2,250 MHz of 4G airwaves across seven bands. It is still not clear when 5G airwaves in the 3,300-3,600 MHz bands will be auctioned.
It is expected that Jio and Airtel will be the major bidders in the spectrum auction. The only profit-making telco, Jio is expected to spend Rs 20,000 crore, followed by Airtel, which is likely to spend Rs 10,000-15,000 crore in the auction.