5G in India: Launch soon as Cabinet approves spectrum auction
The Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has finally authorized the Department of Telecommunications' (DoT) 5G spectrum auction, which means that India will soon have 5G services. The spectrum will now be allocated to bidders to deliver 5G services to the general public and businesses. It's believed the new service would have ten times the speed and capacity of present 4G services.
- 5G in India is part of the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' strategy.
- Officials stated that work on 5G services has been (nearly) flawless--from the construction of the 5Gi stack, 5G test bed, and ultimately the first 5G call.
- They said that the inclusion of the country's indigenous 5G stack allowed India to join the elite telecom club dominated by China, Europe, and the US.
Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister of Telecom and IT, informed that a total of 72097.85 MHz of spectrum with 20 yrs validity by July-end will be put to auction, which is expected to be held by end of July 2022. The minister said that the "spectrum auction announced today is an integral part of developing BharatKa5G ecosystem."
"Auction will be held for spectrum in various Low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), Mid (3300 MHz), and High (26 GHz) frequency bands," the Ministry said in a statement. The Telecom Sector Reforms, including zero Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC), implemented last year are believed to assist the spectrum auction and lower telecom network operating costs.
Cabinet says there is no mandatory requirement to make upfront payments by the successful bidders. Payments for spectrum can be made in 20 equal annual installments to be paid in advance at the beginning of each year. "The bidders would be given an option to surrender the spectrum after 10 years with no future liabilities with respect to balance installments," said an official statement.
"The availability of sufficient backhaul spectrum is also necessary to enable the roll-out of 5G services. To meet the backhaul demand, the Cabinet has decided to provisionally allot 2 carriers of 250 MHz each in E-band to the Telecom Service Providers." The Cabinet also decided to double the number of traditional Microwave backhaul carriers in the existing frequency bands.
On May 20, the minister made India's first 5G call on a trial network using indigenously-developed telecom gears. Following the event, he tweeted, "Aatmanirbhar 5G. Successfully tested 5G call. The entire end-to-end network is designed and developed in India." PM Modi had inaugurated the country's first 5G test bed at IIT Madras earlier in the third week of May.