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IAFI urges DoT to delicense 6Ghz Wi-Fi band

The ITU-APT Foundation of India (IAFI) has written to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) urging the department to delicense the 6GHz Wi-Fi band, citing that it will enable homegrown telecom hardware and software companies to corner a significant share of the Wi-Fi 6e technology market.

“As Wi-Fi-6e is still a niche technology, it is easier for the Indian telecom hardware and software companies to corner a large part of this futuristic global market, which we could not do in the case of 5 GHz Wi-Fi… Since the developed world has already decided to use this band [read: 6GHz] for Wi-Fi, eventually India will have to do the same,” IAFI President Bharat Bhatia said in a letter dated November 5, 2021, to Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Communications.

A copy of the letter has been reviewed.

Regulations in India presently only permit Wi-Fi in 2.4GHz and 5GHz that have 600MHz available to all users, in contrast to more than 2GHz of spectrum required, IAFI added and highlighted that the Wi-Fi usage in India has gone up by 50% during the last two years.

“Due to the pandemic, dependence on Wi-Fi increased manifold for a number of applications including, work from home (WFH), health care, and education. Various studies have indicated that at least 2GHz Wi-Fi spectrum is needed to meet the need for increased home working,” IAFI said.

The 5925MHz-7025MHz band is currently allocated to fixed, mobile, and satellite services in India, as per the National Frequency Allocation Plan 2018.

“Wi-Fi using the 6 GHz radio band opens up over 1 GHz of extra bandwidth, a boon for high congestion. This bandwidth is split into 14 channels of 80 MHz each or seven channels of 160 MHz each,” IAFI said. Unlike existing Wi-Fi channels, Wi-Fi 6e channels don’t overlap or cause interference.

“We have had discussions with Department of Space as well as Private/Global satellite operators and they are comfortable with shared use of this band with low power Wi-Fi,” it added.

With existing channels, the present use of Wi-Fi in India creates an economic value of about Rs 1.6 lakh crores per year, the New Delhi-based company said and cited a Wi-FI Alliances report which estimates the global economic value of Wi-Fi to reach Rs 362 lakh crores ($4.9 trillion) by 2025, up from Rs 232 lakh crores in 2021.

In order to meet the severe shortage of Wi-Fi spectrum, many countries around the world have opened new Wi-Fi bands, including the new 6GHz band and WiGig band in 60GHz, also called the V-band.

“This delicensing of 6 GHz band is key to India’s local manufacturing, innovation, and exports, not just for telecom but the Industrial sector as a whole,” said IAFI.

Internationally, over 35 countries have delicensed the 6 GHz frequency band. These include the United States, UK, Canada, Korea, Brazil, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and the countries in the EU.

“We strongly recommend that DoT delicense the frequency band of 5925-7025 MHz as proposed above, in line with what has been done by other developing and developed countries in order to support innovation by our own engineers and promote AtmaNirbhar Bharat,” said IAFI. TelecomLive



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