Centre to auction millimetre bands for 5G next year-end

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on December 27, 2019

The millimetre bands will also work as a last mile connector   -  istock

DoT to soon consult with TRAI on new airwaves, crucial for an evolving ecosystem

The Government is planning to auction spectrum of millimetre bands of 24.75 to 27.25 GHz, which are strong for 5G technology, by the end of next year for which the Department of Telecom (DoT) will consult with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

Sources close to the development told BusinessLine that the DoT will be communicating to TRAI soon for a consultation on the reserve price and related issues.

“We will be writing to TRAI for the millimetre bands — 24.75 to 27.25 GHz. These are called millimetre bands because the wavelength is very small. These are 5G bands and would very much be required as the ecosystem is evolving,” a senior government official said.

The official also mentioned that these new airwaves will be different from the upcoming auctions in March/April, which were approved on December 20 by the Digital Communications Commission under which 8,300 MHz of airwaves across 22 circles are set to be put on the block.

Reserve price

The total reserve price of all the bands (including 700MHz, 800MHz, 2100MHz) put together comes to around ₹5.22-lakh crore in the upcoming auction.

“We would seek TRAI’s views on the millimetre bands in the next few weeks and probably put them for auction by end next year,” the official said adding that these bands will be used in the fields of agriculture, healthcare and security as 5G has in-depth connection with a lot of other sectors.

The official further explained that the millimetre bands will also work as a last-mile connector, from where the fibre connectivity ends reaching to deeper areas.

The industry has been seeking access to such airwaves because with the deployment of 5G technology, other emerging technologies are also poised to grow. For instance, the use of machine-to-machine (M2M) learning, Internet of things (IoT) and virtual reality (VR) will become the norm. That is why industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has been seeking government’s views on 26 GHz band.

“We request an early referral from the DoT to TRAI to make a recommendation for including the 26 GHz band for the planned spectrum auction in conjunction with other bands as this is imperative and will have a significant bearing on realising the deployment of 5G in India,” Rajan S Mathews, Director-General, COAI, said recently.

Once 5G gets commercially deployed, India will witness several disruptive alterations that will not only transform business landscapes and networks, but will go a long way in making the country a strong global knowledge economy, he added.

Published on December 27, 2019

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