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India’s spectrum policies bite as Airtel says it will boycott 5G auction

While some regulators are working hard to free up more spectrum for 4G and 5G, and to ease access to it, others are still stuck in the cellular Dark Ages. India’s regulator TRAI, and the Department of Telecom (DoT), threate to jeopardize the 5G auctions planned for this year, and the country’s ambitious 5G-centered digital and industrial agendas, by continuing to prioritize Treasury revenues over a viable business case for MNOs. Two of the three main operators – Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel – have already endured several years of price wars, consolidation and regulatory turmoil, partly because of the aggressive entry of newcomer Reliance Jio. Now they have been hit, additionally, with huge fines imposed late last year by…

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