GSMA urges India to reconsider 700 MHz spectrum pricing

Thursday 13 October 2016 | 14:12 CET | News

John Giusti, chief regulatory officer of the GSMA, has urged national governments to reassess their approach to spectrum auction reserve prices after India failed to sell any of the critical 700 MHz band last week. “The GSMA urges the Indian Government to work with the regulator to recalibrate spectrum pricing for the 700 MHz band. Timely deployment of this spectrum will expand the reach of mobile broadband services and deliver positive social and economic benefits to the country’s citizens, creating a truly digital India”, Giusti said.

The GSMA is concerned that, “after the Indian auction, none of the 700 MHz band can be used to expand mobile broadband coverage to Indian citizens. As we had cautioned, the spectrum went unsold because the reserve prices for this highly sought-after band were set at an unrealistically high level of more than USD 60 billion. The GSMA believes that high reserve prices inhibit investment or delay deployment in next-generation networks at a time when demand for mobile data is exploding”.

Regulators should consider the conditions of the local market when setting reserve prices for spectrum auctions, the GSMA also said. In India, mobile operators have been asked to pay some of the highest rates for spectrum compared to other markets, even though it has a low ARPU at USD 2.45, the GSMA added.  

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