Telecom operators’ body COAI has approached the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and telecom minister Manoj Sinha, urging them not to delicense spectrum in the E and V bands, which are considered optimum for providing mobile broadband backhaul.
Telecom operators’ body COAI has approached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and telecom minister Manoj Sinha, urging them not to delicense spectrum in the E and V bands, which are considered optimum for providing mobile broadband backhaul. “Spectrum in E and V band should not be delicensed. Consider assignment of E & V band for backhaul to access service providers (ASPs) having access spectrum. Consider auction of spectrum in E and V band in case it is to be used for access services,” COAI director-general Rajan S Mathews said in a letter to the PMO.
The association said it has learnt the DoT is considering delicensing spectrum in the V band, which it said would result in interference in the said bands leading to non-optimum utilisation. “E and V band spectrum has potential to be used as access spectrum and will be used by the licensed/unlicensed operators for providing access services for which ASPs have spent around `3.5 lakh crore in spectrum auctions since 2010. Access devices are already available in the V band, and therefore, this would lead to flow of traffic away from ASPs’ networks to delicensed networks, impacting the financial viability of the ASPs,” the letter said.
The COAI said a small section of stakeholders are propagating that delicensing these bands will lead to proliferation of internet in rural areas. “These justifications are completely baseless because in villages/rural areas even the presently delicensed spectrum in 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz band is completely unused and therefore no additional spectrum is required in those areas,” it countered.
The COAI also proposed allocation of spectrum in E and V bands to ASPs stating that the DoT can create four buckets of E and V bands in a circle based on auctioned and liberalised holding of ASPs. If an operator has no network operations of its own in a circle, then it shall not be assigned E and V bands. It also proposed that sharing in both the bands should not be allowed.
The association said both the bands are being increasingly used by operators globally to meet mobile broadband backhaul requirements in a cost-effective manner. Even, Trai recommended releasing of both the E and V bands. While E band is ideal for deployment in a dense mobile infrastructure environment over distances of up to 1 km, the V band is particularly suitable for dense deployment of macro and small cells, where conventional microwave cannot be used due to high interference issues, the COAI said.
“Considering the enormous demand of E & V bands by ASPs for backhaul capacity, it is imminent that the spectrum is only assigned to ASPs having access spectrum,” the letter said.