The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), on Wednesday, said the spectrum in 6 Ghz band is essential for mobile communications beyond 2025 as it can offer a wide coverage and capacity, and will help in cost-efficient and faster deployment of 5G.
The statement from the representative of telecom operators come amid ongoing discussions in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for identifying spectrum bands for the next spectrum auctions in the upcoming financial year.
“In case adequate spectrum in the 6 GHz band is not allocated to IMT, the country would have to account for around 60% higher annual costs to achieve the performance expected from 5G services, and this would lead to delayed expansions and a significant increase in energy consumption and radio network cost,” COAI said in a statement.
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According to the association, it is critical to identify the 6 Ghz band for IMT (international mobile telecommunications) services as it is the only mid-band spectrum range where a bandwidth of 300-400 Mhz per operator can be available to meet the growing telecom services demand towards 2030.
Indian telecom operators will need 2 GHz of the mid-band spectrum in 2025–2030. While in other countries, the networks have been deployed in the 3.8-4.2 GHz and 4.8 GHz mid-band, in India, the access in the mid-band is restricted to 367 MHz in the 3.3-3.67 MHz, the association said.
The demand to identify 6 Ghz band for telecom services also comes at a time when other industry bodies like ITU-APT Foundation of India (IAFI) have been pushing for delicensing the band for Wi-Fi usage.
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However, COAI believes that the existing delicensed spectrum in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz amounting to 688 MHz bandwidth in India, is more than adequate for meeting the needs for Wi-Fi connectivity in the 2025-2030 period. “With the National Broadband Mission targeting broadband speeds up to 50 Mbps by 2024-25, COAI recommends that the most optimal allocation for the country in the 6 GHz band would be to identify the entire 5925-7125 MHz i.e., 1200 MHz spectrum in the 6 GHz band for IMT applications,” said SP Kochhar, director general of COAI.