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Spectrum is inadequate for 5G needs, writes COAI to DoT secy

The government should earmark the entire spectrum available in the medium frequency range of 6 gigahertz band for mobile telephony so as to enable them to deliver high-speed data services in the range of 50-100 mbps, telecom industry body COAI said in a letter to the Department of Telecom.

The Cellular Operators Association of India, whose members include Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea, in the letter to telecom secretary K Rajaraman has said that mobile service providers need 2 megahertz frequencies in the medium band spectrum to enhance user experience and entire 1200 megahertz of frequencies available in 6 Ghz band should be earmarked for them.

‘We recommend that the most optimal allocation for the country in the 6GHz band is to identify the entire 5925-7125 MHz i.e., 1200MHz spectrum for IMT applications as this would maximize the economic and societal benefits for achieving the national target of 1 trillion digital economy,’ COAI Director General SP Kochhar said in the letter dated April 7.

At present, the 6 Ghz band is earmarked for mobile, fixed wireless (wifi) and fixed satellite services.

‘Licensed 6 GHz is ideal for commercial success and deployment of 5G NR, 5.5 G, and 6G in the future. An additional 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum would be required to meet the IMT-2020 user-experienced data rates of 100 Mbit per sec on the downlink and 50 Mbit per second on the uplink in cities with a high density of population as per GSMA,’ Kochhar said.

According to the letter, the government is likely to vacate spectrum from broadcasters or satellite users in C band (3670-4000 Ghz) for 5G and 6G use.

‘However, even this spectrum from C band will not be enough to reach the required 2GHz spectrum for IMT in mid-band. It is essential that 1200 MHz available in 6GHz is allocated for mobile communications in India to get this critical 2GHz spectrum in mid-band,’ Kochhar said.

He said that shortage of 6 GHz spectrum would compel TSPs to densify networks to meet 5G performance requirements which will lead to 60 per cent higher annual costs.

‘Without densification, 5G download speeds would be reduced to 50 per cent if less spectrum is allocated in the 6 GHz band,’ Kochhar said.

At present telecom operators are using frequency in the spectrum bands of 700 Mhz, 800 Mhz, 3300 Mhz and 26 Ghz band for 5G services. PTI

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