Reliance Jio on spectrum auction Jio has questioned the Department of Telecommunications for stopping the spectrum auction policy every year. According to Jio, airwave sales need to happen soon to meet the demand for data in the country.
India’s leading telecom operator Reliance Jio has been asked to complete the spectrum auction process from the telecom department (DOT) soon. Also, Jio has questioned the telecom department for stopping the spectrum auction policy every year. According to Reliance Jio, to meet the demand of data in the country, the sale of airwaves needs to happen soon, which is delayed by the telecom department.
Prohibiting spectrum auction against business rules
On 28 September, Reliance Jio, led by Mukesh Ambani, wrote a letter to Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, saying that the policy of national interest should not be delayed due to the interest of some operators. He said that the delay in the process of spectrum auction is harming the treasury of the country. Also, such delay is affecting the business of investors and this delay is against the rules of ease of doing.
Spectrum auction has not been done for four years
Reliance Jio said that even after the Supreme Court’s 2012 judgment, we are unable to find a solid reason behind stopping the successful process of spectrum auction. According to Jio, the spectrum auction was to be held every year after the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2G case. But despite this, there is no spectrum auction process after 2016.
Spectrum auction process should not be stopped against some operators
Reliance Jio said that quality broadband is required every year for the growth and sustainable development of the telecom sector. In such a situation, spectrum auction should be done immediately. In the letter from the telecom company Jio, it was said that spectrum auction has not been done in the last four years. But during this period, there has been an increase of nearly 50 times in traffic and data consumption. We know that some service providers will oppose the spectrum auction process. This is because they have acquired large amounts of spectrum through mergers and acquisitions and they are also losing customers every month.
“Some of the operators are merely interested in perpetuating their 2G technologies and monetise the old equipment as much as possible. We submit that the nation-building policies should not be kept hostage to vested interests of such a few,” Reliance Jio said.
Vi lost 4.8 million users in June, shedding customers for the eighth straight month, while Airtel lost 1.1 million subscribers. Both telcos had lost 4.7 million users each in May. While Jio wants the spectrum auction to be held as soon as possible, rival Airtel and Vodafone Idea are of the view that the reserve price is too high. The DoT plans to put 8,300 megahertz (MHz) of the spectrum at a reserve price of INR 5.23 trillion under the hammer.
Jio wants spectrum auction in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2500 MHz bands. It did not seek auction in the 3,300-3,600 MHz band, meant for 5G services.
Jio, the only profit-making telco whose parent Jio Platforms Ltd has raised ₹1.5 trillion, stares at a major chunk of spectrum license in the crucial 800 MHz expiring in 2021. Spectrum in the 800 MHz band is touted as the most efficient and is used for 4G services. Jio has been using bankrupt Reliance Communication Ltd’s spectrum in the 800 MHz band under a sharing agreement to expand its 4G coverage across 21 circles in the country. Of the 21, the license for 18 circles will expire during July-August 2021.
Airtel and Vodafone Idea also have their airwaves expiring around the same time in 2021 and will need to repurchase the spectrum, but mostly in the less-expensive 1800 MHz band. Spectrum auctions were last carried out in 2016, when the government did not receive a single bid for the 700 MHz band, ideal for 4G services, due to the high reserve price.