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4G auction is to maintain customer service and market share: Former telecom secy R Chandrashekhar

Cabinet approves auctioning 4G telecom spectrum in 7 frequency bands between 700 megahertz and 2,500 megahertz. Auctions are scheduled for March 2021 and will have a validity of 20 years. Government expects to rake in Rs 3.9 lakh crore at the reserve price.

Successful bidders might have to pay entire bid amount in one go or pay 25 percent to 50 percent upfront and remaining amount in 16 equated annual instalments, after a moratorium of two years.
Successful bidders will have to pay 3 percent of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) excluding wireline services as spectrum usage charges.
Apart from spectrum, the Cabinet also gave its approval for setting up national security committee to list “trusted and not trusted sources” of telecom vendors and devices. The committee will be headed by deputy national security adviser and will comprise all stakeholders.
R Chandrashekhar, Former Secretary of Telecom, and V Kamakoti, Professor at IIT Madras and Member of National Security Advisory Board gave their insights on this issue.
R Chandrashekhar said, “It may not be very aggressive in terms of behaviour however some of this spectrum is needed by the telecom operators to replace spectrum for which the earlier duration has expired so they have little option, but to bid for that spectrum.”
“This 4G is to be keep the ship afloat to make sure that the services don’t deteriorate and to maintain their customer services and market share.”
On the national security committee and trusted products, V Kamakoti said, “We need to have some sort of visibility in to the equipment, some sort of assurance is needed. The point of discussion is whether equipment can be trusted or not trusted and there are certain parameters and certain technical ways by which we can analyse that equipment.”
“If we do software analysis and find that there are risks in this software we may say that go back and unless you fix you don’t come back. This is purely a technical directive as you seek it, the directive is not looking at any country-specific stuff.”