India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to seek approval from the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) regarding the inclusion of a number of unused spectrum bands in its next 5G spectrum auction. A DoT official with knowledge of the matter told the Economic Times that the DoT is keen to incorporate the 3.7GHz-4.2GHz band, the L-band (1427MHz-1518MHz), the 470MHz-582MHz band and 37GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) frequencies in its planned spectrum sale. ‘The mid-band is ideal for 5G services and in the last sale, the spectrum in the 3.3GHz [band] was bought by all three telcos,’ a DoT official said on condition of anonymity.

As per reports last month, India’s next spectrum auction is earmarked to take place in January/February 2024. The process will coincide with the expiration of certain Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) licences in circles such as West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Odisha.

The country’s previous multi-band spectrum auction took place in the summer of 2022. Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio), Bharti Airtel, Vi and Adani Data Networks spent a total of INR1.5 trillion (USD18.97 billion) on frequencies in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 3.5GHz and 26GHz bands.

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