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Decision on high-frequency spectrum bands likely in 4-5 months

Telecom and satellite operators should look at using the same spectrum bands in coordination with each other and the decision on use of high-frequency range for broadband is likely to be taken in 4-5 months, a senior government official said.

Telecom secretary K Rajaraman, while speaking at ITU-APT Foundation of India event, said with more people in India joining the digital bandwagon, the data consumption will rise and in turn pressure on use of spectrum will also increase.

He said that it’s very important to discuss the possibility of convergence with terrestrial networks (mobile networks) and non-terrestrial networks.

“I think there are options available, and therefore, we should be able to make some decisions over the next four or five months,” Rajaraman said.

The Department of Telecom has sought recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on high-frequency bands, including 27.5-28.5 Gigahertz, E (71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz) and V (57-64 Ghz) bands.

Digital Communications Commission member (Technology) A K Tiwari said that the world is looking at India to resolve the issue of co-existence, and if Trai successfully resolves it then several countries globally will adopt it.

“Once India will bring that framework, how to auction these frequencies co-existing with this terrestrial network. That will be a milestone,” Tiwari said.

Satellite players have asked the government to reserve 27.5-28.5 Ghz band for satellite-based broadband services and it should be allocated without auction. Telecom players, on the other hand, want all spectrum meant for commercial use to be auctioned as per Supreme Court order in 2G case.

Tiwari said spectrum is a scarce resource and it is a public good which has to be utilised optimally in a fair and transparent manner.

He said that India has been able to auction 370 Mhz of frequencies in the mid-band for 5G but for 6G there will be a requirement of at least 2,000 Mhz in the similar range for the services.

It took almost 4-5 years for the DoT to get clearance from the Department of Space and Defence to auction 370 Mhz spectrum for 5G mobile service in the frequency range of 3,300-3,670 Mhz.

Several government departments have either deployed equipment for using mid-band frequencies for their services or it has been earmarked for usage by them under national frequency allocation plan for their exclusive usage.

Satellite services generally use high-frequency bands. With advancement in satellite technology, demand for high-frequency bands has also started rising. PTI

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