Corona outbreak to cast its shadow over 5G rollout

KOLKATA: The authorities is more likely to face robust instances auctioning pricey 5G spectrum earlier than January-February 2021 with the lethal coronavirus outbreak in China exhibiting no indicators of abating, analysts and business insiders mentioned.

A chronic epidemic, they mentioned, may decelerate 5G rollouts and units ecosystem improvement globally, together with in India as Chinese vendors equivalent to Huawei have been main the cost on the 5G entrance. Such a state of affairs may doubtlessly spoil the enterprise case and returns prospects for struggling Indian telcos to bid aggressively in a 5G airwaves sale any time quickly, they added.

“If the coronavirus menace continues for a few more months, the government may find it challenging to auction expensive 5G spectrum before January-February 2021 since a prolonged epidemic would hit 5G network deployments and devices availability in India too, further reducing the business case for local telcos to participate meaningfully in any early 5G airwaves sale this year,” Rajiv Sharma, analysis head at SBICap Securities advised ET.

Nitin Soni, director (corporates) at international score company Fitch, backed the view, saying “the continuing coronavirus outbreak in China would further delay 5G (services) in India as production of 5G network equipment at Huawei may be hit”.

Soni expects the subsequent public sale “to be delayed anyways as 5G spectrum is expensive coupled with the limited business case for 5G (technology) in India”.

The authorities plans to supply 4G spectrum throughout the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz band, moreover 5G airwaves within the 3.3-3.6 GHz bands. The sale, deliberate within the first quarter of FY21, is slated to see some 8,293.95 models of airwaves at an estimated whole base worth of Rs 5.86 lakh-crore.

Telcos although downplayed the coronavirus impression on 5G community rollouts in India, saying non-Chinese distributors may simply step up manufacturing ranges, although they conceded units availability may take successful.

Rajan Mathews, director basic of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), mentioned “availability of 5G smartphones in India may be impacted” if the coronavirus epidemic continues for some extra months however doesn’t foresee a severe impression on 5G rollouts. “Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung can collectively cater to India’s 5G gear needs in case of supply challenges from Huawei and ZTE”.

COAI represents Big Three telcos, Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea.

“We are not too perturbed about the coronavirus impact as actual 5G rollouts in India are at least 18 months away, but the DoT needs to speed up clearance for the 5G trials that is held up for over a month, reduce 5G spectrum base price and include efficient 26 GHz millimetre wave spectrum in the pool of bands for the next auction to boost the 5G business case in India,” mentioned Mathews.

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