The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) has turned down the department of telecom’s (DoT) plea to reduce the base price for 5G spectrum auction across 22 circles, while the cellular service providers, who had been bleeding profusely owing to Reliance Jio onslaught and competitive pricing, would stay away from the bidding to be held later this year, said the director-general of the industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), Rajan K Mathews.
Trai is planning to auction about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies, including the 3.3-3.6GHz band identified for 5G services, at an estimated total base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore, which, the COAI members such as Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, believe is too costly an affair.
The upcoming 5G networks — expected to be around 20 times faster than 4G ones — are considered vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
Just one megahertz of 5G spectrum has been proposed with a base price of Rs 492 crore, which according to the industry body, is 6-7 times more than the current 5G airwaves available in other countries. Companies have to bid for blocks of at least 20 units, so securing pan-India 5G spectrum will cost a company at least $1.42 billion at base price levels.
On the sidelines of the ‘Security Symposium and Awards 2019’ hosted by Infosec Foundation, Rajan said: “Around 10% Indian smartphone owners use antivirus or malware protector in their mobile phones. Our personal data is absolutely vulnerable to be used by third parties with the help of cookies. We do not read terms and conditions while downloading a mobile app and simply agree to it without knowing what all we are divulging.”
Telecom experts have also warned about the risks involved in the ever-growing data usage in the cyber space, which has no boundaries. According to them, the prevalence of social media usage and the ability to interact anonymously are two of the biggest reasons why cybercrimes on social networking sites have gone wild.
“The increasing propensity to experiment with various social apps sometimes prompts people upload photo with the intention of having fun. This has been the reason behind the popularity of 'FaceApp’ and Stulish,” said Sushobhan Mukherjee, Chairman, Infosec Foundation
The Centre is also planning to table the data protection bill in the next session of the Parliament with the aim to enforce a synchronised data regulation for minimising data theft. “But ultimately, the common man has to be aware about his/her technology and its uses to bring about a harmony in the system,” Mathews signed off.