Telecom operators have again written to the government requesting for an immediate intervention to ensure that “the allocation of the 6 GHz band for international mobile technologies (IMT) is decided in a manner that prioritises national interest”.

This is a third such letter to Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Communications, that the operators have written so that they can plan for network expansion and better network across the country.

“Failure to designate this band as originally intended will not only harm India’s IMT interests, but also impact the progress towards the development of a worldwide ecosystem for IMT in this band,” SP Kochhar, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said in the letter.

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COAI represents telecom operators including Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Idea and Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL).

Sources told businessline that the COAI has also said in the letter that India would “benefit considerably from this additional capacity given our nation’s accelerated digital adoption and leadership in the digital space, including in 5G, and the fact that we still have significantly lower spectrum per capita than many other nations”.

5G, 6G bands

The letter also mentioned that in light of the criticality of the band for India’s 5G and 6G aspirations, COAI had recommended strict adherence to the Indian position during the ongoing world Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC-2023) and requested to ensure that deviations, if any, be affected only upon consultation with all the stakeholders.

“As the WRC-2023 deliberations enter the crucial last phase presently, it appears that discussions are being steered towards the bands designation for delicensed WiFi/NRU (new radio unlicensed) usage, contrary to the originally agreed upon position, and against the national objectives and interests,” the COAI letter said.

It further said that the Indian interventions are guided by the over emphasis of perceived interference to ISRO’s satellite, without any technical study and an agreement as India’s position.

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“The impractical power limits for IMT being suggested by the Indian delegation at WRC, even for Regions 1 and 2, would be determinantal to the development of 5G and 6G in this band, and we believe that was never India’s official position,” it added.

On Tuesday, Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) had also written to the government saying 6GHz band is also an essential to achieving the Bharat 6G Vision so that India can take its rightful place as a leading global supplier of advanced telecom technologies and solutions that are affordable and contribute to the global good.