BSNL Seeks 5MHz Spectrum in 700MHz Band to Roll-out 4G Services
The state-run telecom company, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, has expressed its interest in securing 5 MHz spectrum in the super premium 700 MHz band across the country. Thus, it has written to the government seeking financial support for the same in the upcoming spectrum auction in October 2016.
The Only Option for BSNL:
BSNL will not be participating in the spectrum but instead will ask the government to reserve one slot for it. And will pay the auction-determined price to the government at a later date. According to BSNL CMD Mr. Anupam Shrivastava, procuring 700-MHz is the only option to take on private telecom operators including Reliance Jio.
“We have 20 MHz spectrum in the 2,500-MHz band in 14 circles but that gives us only the capacity. If you talk about coverage, we don’t have spectrum in 800-MHz, 900-MHzor 1,800-MHz bands. That’s why our strategy is to get 700-MHz, which is the best band to give coverage,” added BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava.
Mr. Shrivastava said if the price of 700 MHz band reaches too high, then BSNL might have no other option except to go for the spectrum in select few circles. The devices supporting 800 MHz can easily support 700 MHz and once 700 MHz is auctioned 70% of the handset manufacturers will immediately go for it.
Unviable & Time-taking Ecosystem:
As 700 MHz band is being auctioned for the first time at a base price of ₹ 11485 crores, it would alone fetch ₹ 4 lakh crore for the government. However, the private operators feel that the reserve price for 700 MHz as unreasonable as it needs minimum 3-4 years to develop 700 MHz ready handsets.