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Spectrum auction: India receives bids amounting to Rs 77,146 crore in Day 1

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NEW DELHI: India’s first auction of spectrum in five years attracted Rs 77,146 crore of bids on the opening day on Monday with Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea participating in the bidding process – a response that the government said was better than expected.

There were, however, no takers for spectrum in 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands on the first day, and the auctions will continue and conclude on Tuesday.

About 2,308.80 MHz of spectrum, that carry telecom signals, in seven bands worth nearly Rs 4 lakh crore at the reserve or start price, was offered for bidding in the auction that began on Monday.

Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Rs 77,146 crore worth of spectrum was bid on the first day but there were no takers for the airwaves in the premium 700 MHz as also 2500 MHz bands.

The response from players and the bids received surpassed government’s internal estimates, that had anticipated bids worth Rs 45,000 crore.

“The winning bids that have come till 6 PM today is Rs 77,146 crore. We thought since there are only three players, and spectrum replacement is happening…our estimation was that the bids will touch about Rs 45,000 crore, but it is a matter of assurance that it has gone as high as Rs 77,146 crore,” Prasad said.

The bidder-wise details were not available immediately. A total of 2,308.80 MHz spectrum is being put to auction, out of which there have been bids for 849.20 MHz so far, an official release said.

Bids were received in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands, as players gave the prized 700 MHz band a miss on the first day of auctions.

“Total value of spectrum put to auction was about Rs 4 lakh crore. In this, 700 MHz band was a costly band, and that cost itself is Rs 1.97 lakh crore,” the minister said adding that the government will take a call on 700 MHz band, used for 5G, in case it remains unsold in the ongoing auctions.

Excluding 700 MHz and 2500 Mhz bands, the bidding accounted for 60 per cent of the spectrum that was put to auction.

The 700 MHz band went unsold during the 2016 auctions, too. During 2016, when there were seven bidders, the spectrum sold was 41 per cent by quantity and 12 per cent by value of the total spectrum put to auction. The corresponding figures in the 2021 spectrum auction so far are 37 per cent and 19 per cent respectively, with three participants.

Spectrum will be offered for assignment for a validity period of 20 years. Successful bidders can pay entire bid amount in one go (upfront), or exercise an option to pay a certain amount (25 per cent for spectrum won in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz bands or 50 per cent for spectrum won in 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz bands) upfront with remaining amount in a maximum up to 16 equated annual instalments, after a moratorium of two years.

The government will get Rs 12,000-13,000 crore in the current financial year and nearly the same amount is expected in the next fiscal.

“Not only from Government’s revenue point but also customer point of view, it assures us that more spectrum which has been bid, will lead to better services,” Prasad said. The first day of auctions saw four rounds, first two rounds at 80 per cent activity levels and thereafter at 90 per cent activity levels.

Asked which players had bid aggressively, the minister said that the government has consciously devised a mechanism where it keeps away from the auction process while the bidding is on, and e-auctioneer conducts the process in the most transparent manner.

On about future course for 700 MHz band, where players have maintained that prices are exorbitantly high, Prasad said, “the legal requirement is that once there is no auction in a band, Government will have to go to TRAI for recommendation of fresh price.”

The auction is being held in the backdrop of the pandemic which has impacted economic activity, he said.

“There was a stress we cannot deny that, and in spite of that the auction is showing encouraging results. This is an assurance,” Prasad said.

The auctions for 5G spectrum “should happen in the next financial year”, Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said noting that many of the companies may have also set aside some reserves for 5G auctions.

India would like to have a robust 5G mechanism in place, and would encourage innovative Made-in-India products by domestic companies.

“Very soon, we will be coming up with a good ecosystem for 5G trials as well. As far as spectrum is concerned, we will make proper announcement at an appropriate time, and it will not be very late,” Prasad said.

On whether or not Chinese vendors will be allowed to participate in 5G, the minister said the norms are already in place and the government will proceed accordingly to the rules laid down.

In the 800 MHz, spectrum sold was 65 per cent, in 900 Mhz (38 per cent), 1800 MHz (41 per cent), 2100 MHz (9 per cent), and 2300 MHz (89 per cent).

“Although in 800 MHz, the spectrum sold is 65 per cent of what is available, contribution of this band to total kitty is about 50 per cent so it is more expensive,” Prakash said.

Source: Press Trust of India

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Spectrum Auction 2021: Telecom Department assigns frequencies to successful bidders

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NEW DELHI: Department of Telecom (DoT) today (16.04.2021) successfully completed the assignment of frequencies to successful bidders of the Spectrum Auction, 2021. Frequency assignment letters were issued to successful bidders today.

The frequency assignment was accompanied by a frequency harmonization exercise, whereby spectrum blocks assigned to Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) in the current spectrum auction have been made contiguous with the spectrum blocks already held by them, wherever possible, in various bands in different Licensed Service Areas (LSAs).

The harmonization of spectrum was accomplished in 19 LSAs in 800 MHz band, 8 LSAs in 900 MHz band, 21 LSAs in 1800 MHz band, 3 LSAs in 2100 MHz band, and 16 LSAs in 2300 MHz band.The harmonization exercise facilitates more efficient utilization of spectrum held by TSPs, leading to improved Quality of Service for consumers.

As a part of the frequency assignment, the Government has also accepted the request of two TSPs – M/S Bharti and M/S Reliance Jio, for assignment of immediately available unsold spectrum blocks in place of spectrum blocks in the same band and LSA assigned to them from later dates. An amount of Rs. 2306.97 crore (Rs. 157.38 crore from M/s Bharti and Rs. 2149.59 crore from M/s Reliance Jio) has been received immediately by the Government, rather than in August/ September, 2021.

It may be recalled that a total quantity of 855.60 MHz of spectrum in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands was acquired by Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) in the Spectrum Auction, 2021, conducted on 1st and 2nd March, 2021.

The total amount payable by the successful bidders for the total quantity of spectrum acquired is Rs 77820.81 crore.

Of this, an amount of Rs 21918.47 crore was received as upfront payment from the TSPs on 18th March, 2021, as per terms and conditions of the Notice Inviting Applications.

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China opens 5G station at world’s highest radar location near Tibet border

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BEIJING: China has opened a 5G signal base at the Ganbala radar station in the remote Himalayan region of Tibet which is the world’s highest manually operated radar station at an elevation of 5,374 meters, the Chinese military’s official website reported on Monday.

The mountain is located in Nagarze County in Tibet which is in the vicinity of borders with India and Bhutan.

At the end of last year, the People’s Liberation Army started to coordinate with civilian enterprises to launch 5G base station construction in Ganbala to solve the difficulty of network access for the border defence troops, the website said.

The stable and high-speed 5G signal enables the soldiers in the deep mountains to keep up with the information society, leaving the monotonous and boring life on the border, it said.

It is part of efforts to improve training and on-duty conditions for soldiers stationed in border areas, it added.

Source: Press Trust of India

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ETS-Lindgren, Anritsu announce 5G NR stand-alone mode and carrier aggregation test support

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NEW DELHI: ETS-Lindgren and Anritsu Company continue years of successful collaboration on 5G test capability with verification of stand-alone (SA), dual-connection (EN-DC), and several carrier aggregation combinations within ETS-Lindgren’s EMQuest EMQ-100 Antenna Measurement Software using Anritsu’s Radio Communication Test Station MT8000A.

The additional 5G connection modes and band scenarios allow the construction of tests mimicking network settings particular to an individual wireless carrier. As smartphones, modules, and base stations utilizing 5G transceivers continue to expand to new applications and form factors, over-the-air (OTA) testing provides confirmation that the device will perform well in the intended network and use case.

“Adapting the link settings to match the dozens of 5G network configurations found worldwide was an important milestone,” said James Young, Director, Business Development with ETS-Lindgren.

“The device manufacturers gain critical insight on antenna and radio performance from these radiated tests, as all the discrete systems come together in the final form. EMQuest EMQ-100 and MT8000A now link to commercially available 5G devices driven by different chipsets in SA mode. This collaborative work between ETS-Lindgren and Anritsu is critical for our test lab customer base who rely on the test system to handle whatever link settings are available on the chipset,” he added.

Anritsu Wireless Market Development Manager Keyvan Yasami added, “Our collaboration with ETS-Lindgren addresses SA and carrier aggregation testing needs to create a solution that helps test labs and OEMs keep current with the expanding requirements of global operators, regulatory bodies, and industry standards issued by CTIA and 3GPP. We will continue to work with fellow market leaders such as ETS-Lindgren to ensure maximum utilization of 5G test equipment and chambers.”

ETS-Lindgren’s EMQuest EMQ-100 offers a wide range of fully parameterized test methods for measuring basic antenna performance metrics, as well as testing both radiated and conducted performance of various wireless devices. Flexible in its design, the EMQuest EMQ-100 can be used to analyze antennas in SA applications, or to test an embedded antenna system and radio module against any of the industry standard OTA radiated performance test requirements.

Anritsu’s MT8000A test platform supports the latest 5G technologies, including wideband signal processing and beamforming required by 5G NR enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB). The MT8000A all-in-one platform supports FR1 and mmWave band (FR2) signaling RF tests covering 400 MHz to 7.125 GHz, as well as the 28 GHz and 39 GHz 5G NR bands.

The MT8000A supports both non-stand-alone (NSA) and SA modes and is the first 5G NR test platform to support 5G NR channel models implemented via digital baseband fading. It can also be paired with the LTE-A Radio Communication Analyzer MT8821C to provide a natural upgrade path to 5G for existing LTE customers.

 

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