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5G controversies continue

5G controversies continue

As 5G testing, pricing and trialling continues, three areas – India, Slovenia and Reunion – have made news recently, though not all for good reasons.

The Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has set a price of 492 crore Indian rupees ($66.4 million) per MHz of 5G spectrum for its forthcoming spectrum auction.  With blocks of 20MHz blocks being auctioned off, Indian telcos will be obliged to spend a minimum of $1.4 billion to secure spectrum at the auction. The government has defended its pricing strategy, but this announcement may not be popular with telcos in a market where margins are tight and competition intense.

There’s been controversy in Eastern Europe of a different sort. Slovenia’s Former Minister of Public Administration Boris Koprivnikar has resigned his position as Executive Director of Business Transformation at local industrial group BTC. This follows press allegations that he had influenced the award of 5G trial frequencies (BTC had been awarded trial spectrum in the 700MHz and 3.6GHz bands). Mr Koprivnikar denies any wrongdoing and BTC has said it will return its trial permits. The regulator has promised a review of the frequency allocation procedure.

On a more cheerful note, telecoms company Altice France’s subsidiary in the East African island of Reunion has trialled 5G technology, achieving download speeds of 1.6Gbps. The operator is planning to commercialise the technology in the 2020-21 time period.

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