Struggling to recover nearly ₹ 1 lakh crore invested in 5G networks with no use cases, mobile operators are pushing the telecom regulator to ease electromagnetic radiation norms in India to ease up their roll out costs.

The operators, through the Cellular Operators Association of India, has told the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India that Indian radiation norms are 10 times higher than global standards which is coming in the way of rolling out effective 5G services.

“In India the TSPs have invested more than ₹ 1 lakh crore in creating a robust 5G Infrastructure, however there are still challenges related to the monetisation of the 5G services, since there a limited use case for the 5G services. Having no use cases for the 2 5G is in fact global issue. All over the world TSPs are unable to recover the amount of investment made in creating a 5G network,” COAI said in a letter to TRAI.

“TSPs are still facing the policy and regulatory related challenges for providing the 5G services other than the lack of established use cases is affecting wider adoption of 5G services,” it added.  

One of the regulatory issues flagged by the industry is the higher radiation norms. “ It is important to note here that the current EMF exposure limits in India are significantly stricter (10 times) than the ICNIRP norms, and if not revised, will severely harm consumer experience and expectations from 5G in India. This will adversely deteriorate 5G leading to slower internet speed, lower network quality and inferior signal strength. In addition, this will also impact all potential aspects to enhance the wireless infrastructure and deployment of 5G, including spectral efficiency and network topology,” COAI said.

Industry experts said that most telcos are using higher frequency spectrum for 5G which requires higher power which in turn emit higher radiation.

Telcos also ask DGCA to relax norms than ban 5G deployment within two km radius of an airport. “ DGCA recommendations mandating large exclusion zones for 5G/IMT base stations in 3300-3670 MHz bands for Aircrafts, prescribing no C-band zone of 2.1 KMs from both ends of the runway and 910 meters from center of the runway. These directives have an impact on the deployment and availability of 5G services at airports, airstrips, helipads, etc. as well as adjoining areas across the country,” COAI said.