The Department of Telecom will start identifying and making available new spectrum bands for access and backhaul segments for timely deployment and growth of 5G networks, according to a ministry note.
The department will also make available harmonised and contiguous spectrum required for deployment of next generation access technologies, a DoT note said.
“Identifying and making available new spectrum bands for access and backhaul segments for timely deployment and growth of 5G networks, making available harmonised and contiguous spectrum required for deployment of next generation access technologies for making adequate spectrum available for being equipped for the new broadband era”, said the DoT noting.
To offer multi-gigabits mobile broadband services (MBB), 5G would essentially require large contiguous spectrum blocks per operator to roll out 5G services, according to a TRAI white paper on 5G. DOT’s National Digital Communication Policy also supports this contention.
In India, earlier, only 2.400-2.4835 GHz and 5.825-5.875 GHz were unlicensed bands for indoor and outdoor use of low power equipment. Recently, 5150-5250 MHz, 5250-5350 MHz, 5470-5725 MHz and 5725-5875 MHz frequency bands have been included as unlicensed for use in indoor and outdoor environment. The opening of more unlicensed frequencies will facilitate development of 5G ecosystem, the TRAI paper said.
The department’s WPC (Wireless planning & Coordination) wing is also simplifying rules enabling ‘light-touch’ licensing and delicensing of spectrum for broadband proliferation.
TRAI had recommended auction of about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies. The 5G committee of the telecom ministry has said about 6,000 Mhz of spectrum can be made available without delay for the next generation mobile service. The panel has identified spectrum for 5G services across 11 bands, of which four bands — premium 700 Mhz band, 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz), 24 Ghz and 28 Ghz band — can be made immediately available for the service.
It is likely that the entire spectrum quantum suggested by TRAI will be put to auction .
The 700 MHz band was put for auction last time but was not sold. The 35 MHz paired spectrum is still available for 4G and 5G services. The 3.5 GHz band has recently been identified in India for IMT services. 100 MHz spectrum from 3300-3400 MHz is available on pan India basis and out of 200 MHz in 3400-3600 MHz band.
Globally, full scale deployment of 5G networks is expected to start by late 2019 or early 2020 for which pilots have already commenced. India is also not far behind.
The 5G High Level Forum envisages 5G to be deployed in India by 2020 along with the rest of the world.