India's biggest spectrum auction, which will pave the way for high-speed 5G services, is likely to conclude by July-end and the rollout is expected by September this year, union Telecom and IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Wednesday.
The Cabinet has approved 5G spectrum auction which is scheduled to begin from July 26.
"5G spectrum auction process has started today. We should see the auction process completing by end of July, which is what our scheduled target date was. Telecom companies are already working in parallel to set up the entire infrastructure," Vaishnaw told PTI in an interview here.
The 5G services are expected to be rolled out by August-September.
"Auction is in time. July was the timeframe for auction. August-September was timeframe to begin rollout," Vaishnaw added.
The minister is attending a technology event in Paris where he inaugurated the India pavilion which is hosting 65 startups from the country.
The minister at Vivatech signed an agreement with Lyra Network of France for acceptance of UPI and RuPay card in the European country.
"As part of our public digital platform strategy, UPI is one platform which has been widely recognised as a highly successful payments platform.
"Europe is interested in it and today an MoU has been signed between between UPI and a payment settlement organisation of France so that they can also utilise UPI protocol in Europe. In a sense, we in India are now exporting our soft power to the world," Vaishnaw said.
Another agreement was signed between Vizag-based Medical Technology Park and FIEN (Federation Indo European Du Numerique) of France for promotion of investments in Indian MedTech startups, increasing market access to Indian MedTech products in European markets and joint work on advancement in augmented reality, synthetic biology and innovation.
Vaishnaw said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision is very clear that the figure of 100 unicorns in the country should now increase and India's position as the third-largest startup ecosystem should now further consolidate.
"Our startups have started emerging from tier-two and tier-three cities. That process also has to go forward in a very big way. In future, the startups have to come more and more from smaller places," he said.
The minister also said women's participation in the Indian startup story is growing and needs to increase further.