DoT trying to get more spectrum in mid-bands for auction: Secy
The Telecom Department (DoT) is trying to get more spectrum free in the 3.3-3.6 Ghz band for 5G services, a top official said on Wednesday. The industry has raised concerns over the limited availability of spectrum in the mid frequency bands marked for 5G services.
With the defence and the space departments claiming frequencies in the 3.3-3.6 Ghz band, which has been recommended for 5G services by the regulator Trai, around 175 Mhz of radio waves have been left free for mobile services. "We are trying to get more spectrum in medium bands of 3.5 Ghz and around for 5G. Sub- 1 Ghz band like 700 Mhz can also be used for 5G," Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash told PTI on the sidelines of the India Mobile Congress event here.
Prakash also said that spectrum in the 26 Ghz band, which is likely to be finalised by UN body International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for 5G, will not be a part of the upcoming auction this financial year. The DoT has informed the ITU that India will primarily use spectrum in the 26 Ghz band for satellite services on the demand of space agency ISRO.
The department has submitted a proposal to the ITU for allowing the use of 26 Ghz band for mobile services with conditions that 5G services will not interfere with satellite operations. The industry which was hoping to get spectrum in the 26 Ghz band for 5G services expressed disappointment over the proposal.
According to industry experts, the 26 Ghz band is the core band for 5G globally and will be cost-effective for rolling out networks. The government is looking at all aspects to make spectrum auction suitable for industry, Prakash told reporters at the event.
"We are looking at all aspects. Reforms could be in terms of the number of instalments, rate of interest. What we have received is the pricing from the Trai," the secretary said. "There are other parameters which have to be examined. Ultimately, this has to go for the government approval so saying anything at this stage would be premature," he said.
He said that the DoT has received requests of the industry and looking at various demands sought by them. On the question of reduction in the spectrum usage charge, Prakash SUC has already come down to 3 per cent.
"We are taking a weighted average because different spectrum has been taken at different point of time. For current auction what will be the SUC is a decision is to be taken. Whatever is decided by the government it will be taken keeping in mind the reality. All aspects will be taken into account," Prakash said. Trai has recommended that SUC should be brought down to 1 per cent.
"Spectrum auction has many parameters and we are looking into all those parameters. COAI has asked us that can we give moratorium of two years and more instalments. This aspect is being examined," Prakash said.
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