India is considering lowering the base price for 5G spectrum in its anticipated auction to spur interest from local players who are being pushed out due to pricing.
According to sources speaking to BNN Bloomberg, the Indian government is exploring the possibility of lowering prices as the investment required for 5G networks is significantly more than what is needed for previous generation 4G. The auction is expected to be held in August or September this year.
India has been criticised for burdening operators with expensive past spectrum auctions. Main operator players Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea (Vi) and Reliance Jio have warned half of the airwaves will remain available if the price is not satisfactory.
A discount on prices could particularly be beneficial to Vodafone Idea which is laden with debt after being slapped with a US$13 billion fine, over owed dues on spectrum.
The government indicated previously the reserve price for 5G spectrum could begin at INR4.92 billion (US$64 million) megahertz in the 3,300 to 3,600MHz bands, mid-band airwaves suitable for 5G.
India's minister of communications and technology claimed last month 5G development is reaching its final stages, as the government is looking ahead to developing 6G.