India can keep 6,000 MHz for 5G spectrum auction

5G forecast by GSMA
The 5G committee of the Telecom Ministry has recently submitted its recommendations on 5G spectrum to India government, saying India should be able to release around 6,000 MHz of spectrum for 5G services, PTI reported.

Telecom industry association GSMA recently said 5G subscription will reach 1.2 billion in 2025, representing 14 percent of total number of mobile subscriptions at that time. The telecom statistics from GSMA does not include cellular IoT.

At present, Indian telecom regulator TRAI is in the process of finalizing recommendations on 5G spectrum pricing and policy.

The news report said the panel’s recommendation can lead to India’s largest-ever spectrum allocation for a telecom service.

Arogyaswami Paulraj, an expert member of the panel, said that initially the service would enhance mobile data speed in India by up to 50 percent compared with the current levels.  Paulraj is professor emeritus, Stanford University and a pioneer of MIMO wireless communications.

The panel has spotted spectrum for 5G service across 11 bands. The panel said four bands — premium 700 Mhz band, 3.5 Ghz, 24 Ghz and 28 Ghz band — can be made immediately available for the 5G service.

The panel estimates that 5,250 megahertz of spectrum can be made available for 5G services in higher frequency bands.

5G spectrum auction can be one the largest spectrum auctions in India if telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea-Vodafone, Reliance Jio and BSNL show interest in buying frequencies for the next generation services. But debt-ridden telecom industry will look for a cost effective spectrum to run 5G in 2020.

India tried to auction 2,354.55 MHz of frequencies valued at about Rs 5.63 lakh crore during the auction in 2016. Due to financial issues, the 2016 spectrum auction did not generate good response from telecom operators.

European telecom markets such as Germany and Italy are in the process of conducting 5G spectrum auctions. Most telecom operators are looking for cost effective spectrum to focus on network investment and coverage. Britain has already conducted 5G spectrum auction.

Kuwait has already launched the world’s first 5G service targeting both enterprises and retail customers.