After the postponement of the auction from 2021, Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman had, in December 2021, confirmed the auction would commence in early-2022
The budget has also announced a renewed focus on enhancing rural connectivity and bridging the digital divide via affordable broadband and mobile service
A scheme for design-led manufacturing will be launched to build a strong ecosystem for 5G as part of the PLI scheme
In her fourth budget since taking the role, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that the telcos will roll out 5G within 2022-23, with the spectrum auction happening this year.
Previously, the 5G spectrum auctions were expected to take place in 2021, but have been delayed. Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman had, in December 2021, confirmed the auction would commence in early-2022.
“A scheme for design-led manufacturing will be launched to build a strong ecosystem for 5G as part of the PLI scheme,” Sitharaman announced at Union Budget 2022. The PLI is aimed at enabling affordable broadband and mobile communication in rural and remote areas.
That is, the current budget has also announced a renewed focus on enhancing rural connectivity and bridging the digital divide. Thus, the government will complete optical fibre laying, connecting all villages of India, by 2025, under the BharatNet scheme.
“The contracts for laying optical fibre in rural areas, including remote areas, will be awarded under the BharatNet project through PPP in 2022-23”, Sitharaman said. She further added that the project is expected to complete by 2025 so that relevant stakeholders can derive better use cases of the optical fibre.
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To enable affordable broadband and mobile service and proliferation in rural areas, 5% of annual collection under USOs fund will be allocated to the cause to promote R&D and commercialisation of tech solutions.
From cloud gaming on 5G to drone applications, telcos are already testing 5G use cases. In May 2021, the government allowed telecom operators such as Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and MTNL to conduct 5G trials in India.
The telecom service providers (TSPs) have been allowed to conduct trials with their partner original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and technology providers, provided they are not based out of China