What are your plans with the 5G spectrum?
What we do not want to do with 5G is make it look like 2G, 3G or 4G. We need to make sure that with 5G, there is sufficient spectrum. If we do 3.5, we have to have at least 100 megahertz of spectrum whereas if it is 26-28, 36-37, we need to have 400 to 800 megahertz. So, it is not just about the spectrum auction but the size of the spectrum is also important for 5G.
Second, 5G is a building block for IP infrastructure. We need to quickly transition out of 2G to be successful in 5G because when everything is getting connected, we cannot have 400 million people unconnected in the real world.
What are your comments on the minister saying they will be rolling out 5G auction by the end of this year and that the government is working to bring about some reforms in 5G spectrum pricing?
I am extremely optimistic that the new minister controlling communication and the legal aspects will do the right thing because India wants not to be left behind. We want to be leading in 5G. It is important that we not only auction it but make it affordable so that the right investments go into 5G. This is because as a sector, we are heavily subsidised. It is about 32% over-taxed. We are taxed about 8% on our AGR of 5% which is actually on USO funds and have about Rs 50,000 crore sitting in USO that needs to be utilised effectively. Hopefully, we will address the sector’s taxation.