The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has suggested a 36% cut in the base rate of 3. 3-3. 67 Ghz airwaves — the key 5G spectrum band — and a 40% cut for the coveted 700 Mhz airwaves. Telcos, though, say that these rates are still too high and reiterated calls for over 90% cuts. The regulator has argued that India has the lowest 5G spectrum pricing on a per capita basis. But carriers counter that 5G spectrum pricing on “a per capita” basis is not an accurate global benchmark as population sizes vary sharply along with paying power or “ARPU generation” levels of each country for mobile services.
Carriers point out that India’s 5G airwaves remain the most expensive in the world in absolute terms on a ‘per Mhz’ basis. Further, India’s spectrum costs as a proportion of annual recurring telecom revenues are much higher than key global markets such as China, Germany, UK, Brazil or even neighbouring Pakistan.