DoT allocates spectrum won in auction to telcos, when can we expect 5G rollouts to begin?

Jio was aiming to launch the service on 15th August as a part of the 75 years of independence celebration but missed the target owing to the delay in spectrum allocation by DoT.

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Telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stated in a post on the micro-blogging platform Koo, that DoT has issued the frequency allotment letters to all operators yesterday for spectrum won by them in the recently concluded auction. Yesterday was the last day for making the payment for the newly won spectrum, Bharti Airtel has chosen to pay upfront for 4 years whereas the other operators have chosen to pay only the first year’s instalment. DoT has sent the allotment letters within hours of receiving the payment from the telcos.

Yesterday Airtel paid Rs 8312.4 cr towards spectrum dues and was provided the allocation letter for the designated frequency bands within hours. E band allocation was given along with spectrum as promised. No Fuss, No Follow Up, No running around the corridors and No tall claims. This is ease of doing business at work in its full glory. In my over 30 years of first-hand experience with DoT, this is a first! Business as it should be.

Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal said in a statement.

Along with the 5G spectrum won in the auction, DoT has also allocated the operators E-Band spectrum administratively for backhaul needs for the launch of 5G services with the condition that they will pay the market-determined price for the same once Dot conducts an auction for the E-Band. This has been done to accelerate the 5G rollouts and Vaishnaw has encouraged the telcos to fast-track the commercial 5G launches.

This brings us to the question of, when will the operators actually begin the commercial 5G launch? well, everything that we know so far points out to a launch schedule starting as early as the latter part of this month. Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel mentioned that the initial rollout in key metros is scheduled to start by this month’s end and active talks with vendors like Samsung, Nokia and Ericson are ongoing and the detailed rollout plan for 5000 top cities is ready.

As for Reliance Jio, the operator had claimed to be ready with its own homegrown solution for 5G and unlike Airtel, it was positioned to launch 5G in standalone mode instead of non-standalone since it has access to 700 MHz spectrum. Jio was aiming to launch the service on 15th August as a part of the 75 years of independence celebration but missed the target owing to the delay in spectrum allocation by DoT. It is now expected to launch the service on 29th August during Reliance Industries’ 45th Annual General Meeting.

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Avatar of Esmail Beguwala
Esmail Beguwala

Senior Editor

Esmail is passionate about the Telecom spectrum, Broadband data services, and video streaming devices. When not writing an article, you can find him binge-watching shows on OTT apps, while sipping on a cup of coffee.

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