Ericsson calls for reduction in spectrum price, speeding up availability of airwaves
Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson on Monday urged the government to reduce spectrum prices in India and speed up the process to make them available to the service providers.
At the fourth edition of the India Mobile Congress on Tuesday, Ericsson Head (South East Asia, Oceania and India) Nunzio Mirtillo said an encouraging policy framework will help telecom operators move to 5G network.
"I strongly encourage India to prioritise actions to incentivise investments in the digital infrastructure, including making spectrum more affordable and speeding up the availability of spectrum," Mirtillo said.
Telecom operators can start 5G services in India once suitable airwave frequencies are allotted to them by the government.
Spectrum auctions in India were held every year between 2012 and 2016. No auctions have been held in the past four years.
The government started the process of spectrum auction but has not clarified the timeline for the sale to commence.
In September, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio also wrote to Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash questioning the Department of Telecommunications' (DoT) rationale to pause the policy of annual spectrum auctions, and said the sale of airwaves should be held at the earliest to meet the demand for data services.
Sectoral regulator Trai had recommended a plan to auction spectrum worth ₹5.22 lakh crore. However, some of the spectrum frequencies identified by the DoT for auction are being used by the defence ministry and the Department of Space.
According to Jio, spectrum worth ₹3.92 lakh crore is lying unused with the DoT for auction.
Mirtillo said that currently, India has the highest average traffic per smartphone user per month at 15.7 gb per month, and the average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone continues to show robust growth in India.
"Going beyond the consumer experience and applications, I am confident we are likely to find more transformative, India relevant use cases in India, where the speed, latency and security of the 5G network will be key," Mirtillo said.
He added that based on its technology leadership and experience with 5G deployments across the globe, Ericsson is in a good position to support India on its 5G journey. "We are ready to help our customers 'Switch on' 5G, whenever they are ready to do so."
Ericsson claims to be supplying made-in-India telecom gears to the telecom service.
"We were the first telecom vendor to start manufacturing in India, back in 1994. We manufacture state-of-the-art telecom equipment, including 4G and 5G radios, at our Pune facility, and are exporting 5G radios from India," Mirtillo said.