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India’s role in setting global spectrum roadmap for future telecom networks: GSMA

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In Short:

Indian regulators are pushing for a futuristic spectrum roadmap to lead in 6G technology by the end of the decade. Industry body GSMA emphasized the need for spectrum allocation and a defined roadmap to boost confidence in the industry and enable telecom operators to deliver smooth 5G services. The upcoming spectrum auction in June aims to address the industry’s need for additional spectrum for effective 5G rollout.

Indian Regulators Urged to Lead in Spectrum Allocation for 6G Technology

According to a telco industry body, Indian regulators need to take proactive steps in defining a spectrum roadmap that will help the country achieve a leadership position in the upcoming sixth-generation (6G) technology by the end of the decade. This move is crucial to enable telecom operators to smoothly deliver 5G services in the country.

Julian Gorman, Head of Asia Pacific (APAC) at GSMA, emphasized the importance of India leading the way in spectrum allocation to support future technologies. “India needs to be at the forefront of making spectrum available for the industry and establishing a clear spectrum roadmap that extends into the future,” Gorman stated in an interview with ETTelecom.

Importance of a Futuristic Spectrum Roadmap

Gorman highlighted that a futuristic spectrum roadmap would provide confidence to the industry regarding the availability of airwaves. This, in turn, would enable telecom carriers to develop business cases and long-term innovation strategies focused on next-generation technologies.

The upcoming spectrum sale in India, scheduled to begin on June 6, follows the recent announcement of the election results. The Union Cabinet, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved auctions in eight key bands for telecom services worth Rs 96,317.65 crore, back in February.

The Ministry of Communications will auction spectrum in bands including 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz, 2500MHz, 3300MHz, and 26GHz, with a validity period of 20 years.

Previous Spectrum Auction and Industry Concerns

In the country’s first 5G spectrum auction, the government netted Rs 1.5 lakh crore by selling 71% of the total spectrum put up for auction. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), representing major telecom players like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea (Vi), has emphasized the need for 2GHz of spectrum to ensure seamless 5G services.

SP Kochhar, Director-General of COAI, highlighted the current deficiency of 1200MHz in spectrum allocation for 5G services. Kochhar stressed the importance of addressing this gap to enable an effective rollout of 5G services in the mid-band spectrum range.

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