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DoT to set aside spectrum bands for use cases

With an eye on leveraging Internet of Things (IoT), machine to machine communications, and advanced cloud-based services, the government is looking to set aside select spectrum bands for use cases outside traditional human communications.

Rather than auction these bands, the government will administratively allocate these for a range of uses which are expected to promote local manufacturing, innovation and development of indigenous technology, officials said.

Certain frequency bands are permitted for use by the general public without any licence. The equipment is generally low powered and works within a short distance. Such devices are used in almost all areas, with the popular ones being for items such as Wi-Fi routers, bluetooth devices and RFID tags, among others.

Officials said the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is in the process of delicensing three bands for such uses. The government expects the delicensing of the 9kHz-30 MHz band is expected to help in the proliferation of inductive devices such as wireless chargers, proximity sensors, personal identification, animal tracking and anti-theft systems, among others.

The DoT is also delicensing 1 additional MHz additional spectrum in 867-868 MHz and revising regulations in the 433 MHz band, to fast track the adoption of IoT devices nationwide. These devices are physical objects with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks, an official said.

The move is expected to help in the availability of equipment. Case in point, in the domain of near-field communication, the government has set aside a band for the exclusive use of contactless car keys communicating with vehicles. This is expected to boost the manufacturing of this item in India, the official added.

While IoT devices are experiencing an organic growth in smart homes, e-Health and education, the government is expected to back the large-scale deployment of IoT devices in smart cities and the agriculture sector.

The delicensing exercise is part of larger wireless licensing reforms being undertaken by the DoT.

The government has eased the process of applying for import licenses needed to bring in wireless equipment from abroad. It has scrapped the existing manual, scrutiny based process for acquiring import licenses in favor of a fully online self declaration based clearance. It has also digitized 2 lakh old license records, migrating them to an online system. Business Standard

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