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6 GHz spectrum to fuel 5G network growth in India: COAI

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In Short:

The industry association in India believes that the spectrum shortage for expanding 5G networks can be met by utilizing the 6 GHz frequency band. They feel that the current spectrum allocation is insufficient for effective 5G rollout. The association also emphasized the need for planning future spectrum requirements for both 5G and potential 6G networks. The government is planning to auction more airwaves in various bands, including 5G spectrum, in May.

5G Spectrum Shortage to be Met by Crucial 6 GHz Band: COAI

The spectrum shortage for effectively expanding fifth-generation or 5G mobile networks in India will be fulfilled by the crucial 6 GHz frequency band, as stated by the Director-General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).

Current Status

In the last auction, only 800 megahertz of spectrum was obtained, leading to a deficiency of 1200 megahertz. This shortage poses a challenge for the rollout of 5G in the mid-band for telecom operators like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea (Vi).

Jio and Airtel have completed pan-India deployments of their 5G networks, while Vi is yet to launch its 5G services commercially.

Expansion & Challenges

There is a mismatch between the spectrum available and the geographical territory that needs to be covered for 5G networks. The spectrum requirement is crucial for the optimal rollout of 5G.

Kochhar emphasized the importance of 2 gigahertz in the 3.3-3.6 gigahertz range for the effective rollout of 5G. He also highlighted the projected higher spectrum requirements for 6th Generation (6G) networks.

Government’s Role

Kochhar urged the government to plan a spectrum pipeline according to projected demands, rather than getting distracted by other priorities. He expressed concern over the demand for airwaves in the 6 GHz range for Wi-Fi services, emphasizing the need to prioritize IMT over other services.

Upcoming Auction

In the upcoming auction scheduled for May 20, 5G airwaves in various bands will be put on sale, including 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz.

The government aims to put airwaves worth Rs 96,317.65 crore on sale, following the success of the first 5G spectrum sale in 2022.

The previous auction resulted in the sale of 71% of the total spectrum to telecom companies like Jio, Airtel, Vi, and Adani Data Networks.

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