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6GHz mobile spectrum-Can add $27bn to India’s GDP, GSMA

The GSMA calls for a partnership between the Indian government and its mobile sector to help drive the commercialization of the 6 GHz mobile spectrum. It is estimated that if 5G is not constrained by spectrum shortages, its impact on GDP in India will be almost $27 bn by 2030.

This is among the recommendations of the new ‘India Market Insight – 5.925-7.125 GHz.

The report’s other key recommendations include:

  • India should analyse the cost benefit of the 6 GHz range and consider the impact of reduced mobile performance and penetration against any perceived benefits of competing uses for the upper 6 GHz band.
  • 6.425-7.125 GHz should be included for mobile in India’s spectrum roadmap/table of allocations to ensure that the band is commercialised in the country.

6 GHz needed for Indian mobile momentum
India has become one of the fastest growing 5G markets globally in recent years with almost 175 million 5G connections by the end of March 2024 and greatly improved mobile download speeds. As India develops 5G-Advanced and beyond it will depend on the adoption and commercialisation of the upper 6 GHz band as the only mid-band spectrum currently available to respond to future data traffic demands.

International agreements on the use of the upper 6 GHz band (6.425-7.125 GHz) have already been reached at last year’s World Radiocommunication Conference. Equipment trials showing peak speeds of 12 gigabits per second have also been concluded and the first 6 GHz mobile handset prototype was tested in 2023.

For India, enhanced mobile connectivity and capacity enabled by the 6 GHz band will lay the foundations for the technology-driven development envisioned by government initiatives. It is estimated that if 5G is not constrained by spectrum shortages, its impact on GDP in India will be almost $27 bn by 2030. On average, a total of 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum per market will be needed by 2030 to avoid such constraints and meet the demand of citizens and businesses. For a dense city like Mumbai, a total of 2.5 GHz of mid-band spectrum may be required.

Luciana Camargos, Head of Spectrum for the GSMA, said: “India’s 5G momentum has gained global attention and respect. For it to continue, and for the full realisation of the Indian government’s digital ambitions, a clear roadmap to deliver spectrum for growing mobile demand is needed. The upper 6 GHz band must be part of that roadmap and bringing it into commercial use will require close collaboration between government and the mobile industry.”

Spectrum set-asides are not driving adoption
The underlying research by GSMA, ‘The Impact of Spectrum Set-Asides on Private and Public Mobile Networks’ is the first of its kind to apply robust statistical analysis to the impact of spectrum set-asides.

Importantly, the paper’s clear conclusion is that there is no indication of spectrum set-asides accelerating the digitalisation of enterprises – either through the adoption of private networks or through benefitting IoT connectivity. However, their continued presence can damage consumer network speeds by up to 25%.

For report,

CT Bureau

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