frequency auction soon; 5G rollout by year-end, government says


State-run BSNL will start 4G services this year, Minister Devusinh Chauhan tells RS

State-run BSNL will start 4G services this year, Minister Devusinh Chauhan tells RS

The spectrum auction will be held very soon, and next-generation 5G services are expected to start before the end of the year, Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan said at the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

In response to a supplementary during Question Time, Mr Chauhan said that four companies had been allocated spectrum to conduct trials which are expected to be completed soon.

In parallel, the minister said, the Indian Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRAI) has been asked to make its recommendations for the forthcoming auction.

“We will be holding auctions very soon. By the end of this year, we will launch 5G services in the country,” he said.

He assured that the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) will start its 4G services later this year.

“Great Revolution”

The minister said that over the past seven years there has been a “major revolution” in the telecoms sector and that data consumption has skyrocketed while tariffs are at their lowest.

There was a robust public grievance mechanism in place and grievances pending for over 48 hours were escalated to senior officials, Mr Chauhan said.

The government had taken a number of measures to revitalize the BSNL and MTNL telecom network parts. The quality of BSNL services would also improve with the rollout of the state-owned company’s 4G services, he claimed.

Mr. Chauhan also outlined the reforms being implemented by the government in the telecommunications sector, citing measures such as the redefinition of AGR (Adjusted Gross Revenue).

‘Subscriptions increased’

In a written response, Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “There is no decrease in the number of mobile subscribers in the country in 2020-21.” According to the monthly telecom subscription data released by TRAI, the number of mobile subscribers in India increased from 1,157.75 million in the year March 2020 to 1,180.96 million in March 2021.

In order to improve the quality of service (QoS), drive tests and radio frequency (RF) optimizations are carried out regularly by mobile network providers.

“To provide state-of-the-art and prompt service to mobile customers, service providers are optimally managing increasing traffic by adding more sites, deploying fiber backhaul, using small cells and making network optimizations,” Mr. Vaishnaw said.

In addition, the TRAI issued guidelines and defined various parameters and benchmarks for monitoring QoS.

These parameters were determined on a quarterly basis for the entire license services area.

To ensure compliance with the QoS benchmarks and to protect consumers’ interests, the TRAI has mandated the system of financial disincentives for non-compliance with the benchmarks, Mr. Vaishnaw said.

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