The government may not auction spectrum frequency range between 27.5-28.5 gigahertz and leave it for satellite services, according to official sources. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended a base price for this frequency range and suggested that it can be used for both mobile as well as satellite services.
Two official sources acknowledged that Department of Telecom (DoT) is considering auctioning spectrum only up to 27.5 Ghz as sharing between the two services is difficult. “Trai also understands that it is difficult for both 5G and satellite transmitters to work side by side. We are going ahead with an auction of only up to 27.5 Ghz,” an official source said.
The official said the government is looking if Earth Stations In Motion (ESIM) can be allowed in 27.5-28.5 Ghz, which is available for in-flight and maritime connectivity, but meanwhile there are no plans to auction this frequency range. A senior DoT official said that there are several views within the department and nothing is final yet.
“Digital Communications Commission (DCC) will take a call on the matter. It will send reference back to Trai and based on Trai’s response DCC will firm up its view. The final decision will be taken by the Cabinet. DCC will only share its recommendation to the Cabinet. There is nothing final yet. Everything is in fluid stage,” the officer who did not wish to be named told PTI. E-mail query sent to DoT elicited no immediate reply. Trai has mooted a mega auction plan valued at over Rs 7.5 lakh crore at the base price across multiple bands for radio waves allocated over 30 years.
The regulator has recommended that the millimeter wave spectrum between 24.25-28.5 Ghz is going to be used for capacity requirement, its deployment is not likely to be ubiquitous rather it is more likely to be kind of hotspots or urban micro cells. Therefore it suggested both mobile service stations and Satellite Earth Station Gateway (Earth to Space) can co-exist in 27.5-28.5 GHz frequency range.
“The Satellite Earth Station Gateway should be permitted to be established in frequency range 27.5-28.5 Ghz at uninhabited or remote locations on a case-to-case basis, where there is less likelihood of 5G IMT services to come up,” Trai had said. Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said that the auctions , which will pave the way for 5G services in the country, are likely to be held in early June and services are expected to be rolled out by August-September this year.