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Indian government to come up with new spectrum law – reports

India's Department of Telecommunications (DoT), along with the Department of Space and Ministries of Home Affairs and Defense, is developing a new law to address the issues related to spectrum allotment, auction and reservation, according to media reports.

Tentatively titled the Wireless and Spectrum Act, it will replace the existing Indian Wireless Act, 1933. The new legislation is likely to be introduced in the upcoming Monsoon parliamentary session later in 2022.

Call waiting: India is finally preparing to hold the 5G spectrum auction next month.
 (Source: Nicolas DEBRAY from Pixabay)
Call waiting: India is finally preparing to hold the 5G spectrum auction next month.
(Source: Nicolas DEBRAY from Pixabay)

For several years, the industry has been demanding more clarity and a roadmap for spectrum allocation and auction. Spectrum allocation is an extremely controversial topic in India. The country faces several conflicts between different government departments, like defense and space, which have in the past delayed spectrum auctions.

Media reports suggest that the law will give flexibility to policymakers to decide whether or not to auction spectrum on a case-by-case basis. As of now, all spectrum is auctioned in India.

Conflicts emerge

This comes at a time when India is preparing to hold the 5G spectrum auction in May. Several conflicts have emerged related to this. The biggest issue is the high reserve price. Secondly, there is a difference of opinion on whether or not the E and V band should be auctioned.

Lastly, there is little clarity on how spectrum for 5G private networks will be allocated.


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While telcos want to ensure that all spectrum should be auctioned to maintain a level-playing field, enterprises want to acquire spectrum at administrative rates. Under existing laws, this isn't possible.

The industry has raised the issue of excessive litigation in the sector and this new legislation, if done right, may address some of the problems.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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