To expedite 5G auction, DoT to meet MoD, ISRO, other officials

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is likely to meet senior officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) soon to sort out the final details on 5G spectrum airwaves and the different bands currently occupied by these ministries, sources in know of the development said.

The DoT, officials said, wants this “formality” to be completed as soon as possible so that the spectrum auction for 5G airwaves can be held as early as possible during the next financial year, and no later than the end of the April-June quarter.

In October last year, the DoT had written to the MoD, asking them to vacate 100 megahertz (Mhz) of spectrum in the frequency band of 3,300-3,400 Mhz and instead use the 3,000-3,100 Mhz frequency band.

Apart from this, it had also requested ISRO and the Department of Space to not press for its claim on the 26MHz, so that the DoT could make available at least 3000 MHz, in line with the recommendations made by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Later, in January last year, ISRO, the Department of Space and MoD had agreed to the DoT’s demands to vacate spectrum in the frequencies requested by the latter. The said frequencies are worth over Rs 60,000 crore, an official said.

“Only the formalities of who will operate in which bands needs to be agreed upon. We hope to complete the auction in March at the earliest but no later than June,” the official said.

While the DoT is waiting for the final recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on 5G spectrum pricing and other details, it has said that cities of Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Pune, and Gandhinagar would be among the first ones to get 5G services in 2022.

Trials for 5G services and its competency have been ongoing at specific locations in these cities for some time now. The three private telecom service providers, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm, and Vodafone Idea have been working with telecom equipment makers such as Ericsson, Nokia, and others and have been conducting trials at test sites in these cities.

5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long term evolution mobile broadband networks. 5G works in 3 bands, low, mid and high frequency spectrum, all of which have their own uses as well as limitations. Though the government has said that the auction of 5G spectrum would take place either in March or April next year, some experts say that it could be delayed by at least one quarter as telecom service providers are yet to complete their trials and test various aspects.



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