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Allocation in 6 GHz without auction to cause Rs 3 trillion loss, says COAI

Allocation of spectrum in 6 gigahertz band without auction would result in a potential loss of over Rs 3 trillion to the national exchequer, telecom industry body COAI said on Wednesday.

The Cellular Operators Association of India said that the government should earmark the entire 1200 megahertz (Mhz) of frequencies available in the 6 Ghz radiowaves band for 5G mobile service as telecom operators need those to deliver 100 megabit per second download speed (mbps) and 50 mbps upload speed to subscribers.

“If we go for value derived in the last auction for mid-band spectrum then it comes to around Rs 317 crore per mhz. “We want the price to be substantially less but if we look at that as a reference point than one can easily calculate potential loss to the exchequer if spectrum in 6 Ghz is given without auction,” COAI Director General SP Kochhar said at an event to discuss 6G spectrum for telecom services.

The 6 Ghz band spectrum has a range of around 1200 Mhz radiowaves frequencies.

Other industry bodies have contested COAI’s demand and written to the government to delicense 6 Ghz which can be used for free for wifi services.

Kochhar said that with high speed getting delivered through 5G, wifi is losing relevance and wifi players have not been able to utilise free spectrum made available to them in 5 Ghz band.

“Users want that instant download and upload of any file. If we look at Indian content then to meet this requirement we need about 2000 Mhz of spectrum in mid-band to deliver 5G speed with 100 mbps download and 50 mbps upload speed. The requirement in country’s like the US may be less because of their population density,” Kochhar said.

Telecom operators Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea bought spectrum in the 3300 Mhz band in the auction held last year.

Kochhar said that a total of 720 Mhz of spectrum is available in mid-band for 5G services and the rest of 1200 Mhz can be allocated in 6 Ghz band.

“There is no immediate requirement for additional spectrum but telecom operators work on a 10 year plan. Additional spectrum will be required once the 5G roll out is completed and new applications start coming for 5G services. Earmarking 6 Ghz spectrum in advance will help telecom players to work on development of equipment and devices ecosystem,” he said. PTI

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