New Delhi: The government will conduct a spectrum auction this year, which will facilitate the roll-out of 5G services by private telecom operators in 2022-23.
The announcement was made by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget on Tuesday. The telecommunications sector in general and 5G, in particular, can enable growth and offer job opportunities, she said.
“A scheme for design-led manufacturing will be launched to build a strong ecosystem for 5G as part of the production-linked incentive scheme,” the FM said.
She said that to enable affordable broadband and mobile service proliferation in rural and remote areas, five per cent of annual collections under the universal service obligation fund will be allocated.
“This will promote R&D and commercialisation of technologies and solutions. Our mission is that all villages and their residents should have the same access to e-services, communication facilities and digital resources as urban areas and their residents,” FM said.
She added that the contract for laying optical fibre in all villages, including remote areas, will be awarded through the BharatNet project through PPP in 2022-23.
“Completion is expected in 2025. Measures will be taken to enable better and more efficient use of the optical fibre,” FM said.
Hours later, telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s recommendation on 5G spectrum is expected to come by March, after which spectrum action will be held expeditiously.
The minister said that the department of telecom is working on other auction-related processes.