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5G spectrum allocation: DoT seeks inputs to chalk out 10-year roadmap



In an effort to chalk out a better strategy for the sale and use of radio frequency spectrum over the next 10 years, including the 5G bands, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has reached out to the industry and academia seeking their inputs.

The DoT has sought inputs on three major aspects of radio frequency spectrum such as the changes required in the current spectrum allocation methodology, the frequency bands that should be considered for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) and 5G in India, and any other telecom spectrum allocations that the industry sees the need for over the next 10 years.

All the three private telecom players, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vi have been urging the DoT to lay out a clear road-map of spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands so that they would be able to plan the roll out of their services accordingly. Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India, which represents the three telcos, had also in a statement last week said that the spectrum, which had already been identified for IMT as well as 5G according to the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP) of 2018, should be made available for mobile services.

“If the spectrum is acquired through auction, then there should not be any usage charge for the spectrum as the market determined price is already paid. This has been a long-pending demand of pricing of spectrum to be rationalised and benchmark it to international standards,” COAI’s director general Lieutenant General S P Kochhar had said.

According to the NFAP 2018, the DoT was then actively considering allocation of 25.25, 27.5, 31.8, and 37 GHz frequency in the millimetre bands and well as bands below 6GHz for 5G services. However, the allocation of spectrum in 5G has not yet been done as the DoT is still in talks with various other departments of the government such as the home ministry and the defence ministry on the segregation of frequencies for commercial and other purposes.

The millimeter-wave band or extremely high-frequency frequency spectrum is mainly designed for usage in airport security scanners, closed-circuit television, scientific research, machine-to-machine communication, and military fire control.

This new spectrum under the 5G band called the ‘millimeter-wave bands’ is separate from the 2251.25 MHz auction for 4G, which is scheduled to start from March 1. On December 16, 2020 the cabinet had cleared the sale of this spectrum across seven frequency bands at a reserve price of Rs 3.92 lakh crore.

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