by Vinaya Deshpande, Mumbai, sundayguardianlive.com, 27 August, 2016
The Union government is likely to delay the coming spectrum auction, and hold it during the first week of October. This is touted to be one of the biggest ever spectrum auctions in the country. The decision has been taken due to the request of telecom companies, a senior official of the Department of Telecommunication said. Now, the auctions are likely to be held during the auspicious period of Navratri, which will begin from 1 October. J .S. Deepak, secretary of the Union Department of Telecommunications, gave this information this week. He was in Mumbai for an awareness programme on EMF emissions and telecom towers.
During this auction, the government will make 2354.55 Mhz spectrum available. It is expecting to garner Rs 5.56 trillion at the base price. The auction will be held simultaneously for seven bands — 700 Mhz, 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz, 2300 Mhz and 2500 Mhz. This is the first time that the government has decided to put up such huge quantities of spectrum for auction. This has been done to improve the quality of services in the country. “Mobile connectivity is important in the growth of GDP. It helps in rural connectivity, tackling law and order situation, dealing with insurgency. In all these matters, connectivity is of paramount importance. In the last few years, phoneline connections have gone from 30 million to one billion, mainly due to broadband and cell phones,” Deepak said. During the auction, the telecom companies will have to pay 25% amount upfront in their bid. For the auction of spectrum above 1 Ghz, the bidders will have to pay 50% upfornt. The second instalment will be due in three years after the initial payment. Even as India stands at the cusp of 4G connectivity at present, Deepak said that the country will be ready to adopt 5G by 2020.
“There is unsubstantiated fear among people about the impact of cell phone tower radiation on their health. There has been no evidence till now to show that cell phone tower radiation has any negative long term impact on human health. We have decided to launch a public outreach programme for putting up towers,” Shivendra Bhatnagar, senior deputy director general of TERM, Department of Telecommunications, said.