Tech Mahindra: India Needs to Begin 5G Spectrum Auction Now!

Manish Vyas, President of Communications Business and Chief Executive Officer of Network Services, of Tech Mahindra said the India Department of Telecom needs to commence the auction of 5G spectrum now.  He noted that regulators in some countries have already formulated policies and initiated spectrum auctions for the 5G roll out in their respective nations.

Vyas said 4G is yet to touch all parts of India and that needs to happens on a massive scale.  Yet there are some “definite green-shoots” of 5G trials.

More than technology, the bigger impediment could be the India regulatory body’s policy on 5G spectrum. The experimental license by DoT will need modifications, and till that happens, the sector is in for a “waiting game” he said.

“US, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and more (have started 5G spectrum auctions). Spectrum is the life blood of any wireless network. For 5G, globally regulators have been licensing mid-band (3.5GHz) and in some countries mmWave (millimeter Wave) spectrum bands as well.

For 5G to be rolled out in India, the first necessary step is for the regulator to auction the 5G spectrum. Everything else will be gated on spectrum,” he wrote in an email to the Economic Times of India.

Vodafone Idea recently said the auction of 5G spectrum should not be held before 2020 as the industry needs time to develop India-specific use cases for the next-generation technology.

A DoT official in December last year said the government expects to complete processes for 5G spectrum auction by August, 2019.

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Tech Mahindra established a strategic partnership with Intel on a wide range of topics spanning across Virtualization of RAN (radio access network) , Cloud native 5G Core and on Edge Computing, Vyas said.

“Intel brings best in class technology for 5G infrastructure and will form the foundation of 5G networks.

We are collaborating with Intel to maximise the benefits of their technology for 5G networks and we are also working on developing 5G use cases for specific industry verticals in the CoE,” he said.

The IT systems integrator is working with many telcos across North America, UK, Germany, Asia-pacific Australia New Zealand and North Asia regions on 5G launch and digitalisation programs, he explained.
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UPDATE: India DoT panel on scope of 5G trials, experimental spectrum submits report

A panel set up to recommend the scope of 5G trials in the country has submitted its report to the Department of Telecom (DoT), a source said.

The DoT-constituted committee chaired by IIT Kanpur Director Abhay Karandikar was tasked to give recommendations on the scope of trials, as well as size, quantum, pricing and other aspects for offering experimental/trial spectrum for 5G and other trials.

A DoT source privy to the development said that the report was submitted recently and is currently being examined, but did not divulge details.

Some industry representatives had earlier informed the committee, during the past deliberations, that the various stages involved in the process of experimentation and trials such as import and release of equipment, logistic clearance, installation and commission of equipment, network integration, interoperability checking, and testing of applications require longer duration and that the existing validity of three months is very short and needs to be increased.

The National Digital Communications Policy 2018 outlines a mission to ‘propel India’ by enabling next generation technologies and services through investments, innovation and IPR generation.

In this regard, it underlines the need to harness the power of emerging digital technologies, including 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Cloud and Big Data to enable provision of future-ready products and services.

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/technology/dot-panel-on-scope-of-5g-trials-experimental-spectrum-submits-report-3988761.html

11 thoughts on “Tech Mahindra: India Needs to Begin 5G Spectrum Auction Now!

  1. Jio adds 9.4 million customers in March, Airtel, Vodafone-Idea lose

    : Reliance Jio has added 9.4 million customers while India’s teledensity has declined 1.82% to 90.11%, from 91.86% in March 2019 with active wireless subscribers reaching 1,021.75 million, the sector regulator in a finding Tuesday said.

    Jio has added 9.4 million users in March to take its user base to 307.7 million, while Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel lost 14.5 million and 15.1 million customers, respectively, to take their subscriber bases to 394.8 million and 325.2 million during the same period, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said.

    Bharti Airtel had 27.99% subscriber market share, Vodafone Idea 33.98% and Jio had 26.40% market share as of March 2019.
    Vodafone Idea’s active use base, or VLR, was 93.27% of its overall subscribers, while Reliance Jio was at 84.04%. The finding revealed that Bharti Airtel has the maximum proportion – of 100.82% – of active wireless subscribers in the month of March 2019.

    In the broadband segment, Vodafone Idea had 19.57%, Bharti Airtel 20.35% and Reliance Jio had 54.45% market share as of March this year.

    The monthly decline rates of urban and rural subscription stood at 0.90% and 2.98% respectively in March 2019, according to Trai.

    The regulator added that in March, 5.30 million subscribers submitted their requests for Mobile Number Portability (MNP), and the cumulative porting requests have increased from 423.11 million in February to 428.40 million at the end of March 2019.

    https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/jios-adds-9-4-million-customers-in-march-airtel-vodafone-idea-lose-trai/69430347

  2. India’s 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.

    https://www.dtnext.in/News/Business/2019/05/26153852/1139654/Telecom-Ministry-to-start-identifying-new-spectrum-.vpf

  3. COAI – Price of 5G spectrum in India 30-40 pc higher than global rates:
    A day after the government announced its intention to hold spectrum auctions in the current year, industry body COAI said that the recommended base price of 5G radiowaves is nearly 30-40 per cent higher than the rates in markets like South Korea and the US.

    https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/price-of-5g-spectrum-in-india-30-40-pc-higher-than-global-rates-coai/69649360

  4. Indian mobile carriers are apparently finding it hard to come out with relevant use cases for the fifth-generation or 5G technology making the government-backed commercial rollout gloomy as envisaged for 2020.

    “5G is not a mass technology, at least immediately. The next generation of technology is more inclined towards business customers which are shying away from it, making telco’s potential business opportunity in limbo,” a top executive of the country’s leading telco said.

    Since 2016, the Narendra Modi-led government has shown much enthusiasm and is not leaving any stone unturned with empowering the AJ Paulraj-headed 5G high-level forum and sub-committees for a healthy dialogue between the industry and government, as well as identifying the bottlenecks for a robust 5G roadmap.

    https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/indian-telcos-grapple-with-5g-use-cases/70380348

  5. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is planning to auction about 8,644 MHz of telecom frequencies, including the 3.3-3.6GHz band identified for 5G services, at an estimated total base price of Rs 4.9 lakh crore, which, the COAI members such as Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, believe is too costly an affair.

    The upcoming 5G networks — expected to be around 20 times faster than 4G ones — are considered vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.

    Just one megahertz of 5G spectrum has been proposed with a base price of Rs 492 crore, which according to the industry body, is 6-7 times more than the current 5G airwaves available in other countries. Companies have to bid for blocks of at least 20 units, so securing pan-India 5G spectrum will cost a company at least $1.42 billion at base price levels.

    On the sidelines of the ‘Security Symposium and Awards 2019’ hosted by Infosec Foundation, Rajan said: “Around 10% Indian smartphone owners use antivirus or malware protector in their mobile phones. Our personal data is absolutely vulnerable to be used by third parties with the help of cookies. We do not read terms and conditions while downloading a mobile app and simply agree to it without knowing what all we are divulging.”

    Telecom experts have also warned about the risks involved in the ever-growing data usage in the cyber space, which has no boundaries. According to them, the prevalence of social media usage and the ability to interact anonymously are two of the biggest reasons why cybercrimes on social networking sites have gone wild.

    “The increasing propensity to experiment with various social apps sometimes prompts people upload photo with the intention of having fun. This has been the reason behind the popularity of ‘FaceApp’ and Stulish,” said Sushobhan Mukherjee, Chairman, Infosec Foundation.

    https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/telcos-no-to-5g-bidding-as-trai-says-no-dot-plea-on-price-cut/70507934

  6. Vodafone Idea CEO: We must nail 4G if we want to do 5G right in India

    Vodfone Idea has recently deployed Massive MIMO technology across its 4G networks, in order to pave the way for the transition to 5G in 2020
    Vodafone Idea will continue to develop and invest in its existing 4G networks, as it paves the way for the move towards 5G next year, according to the company’s CEO.

    Speaking at the ET Telecom 5G Congress in New Delhi last week, Sharma said that it was crucially important to ensure that the country’s 4G networks were on the cutting edge of innovation, to ease the transition into 5G.

    “5G is the opportunity of a lifetime. It is the culmination of everything we have been working towards over the last few years. It’s about making the connectivity revolution happen.

    “5G in India, as with everywhere else in the world, is going to launch on a non-stand-alone basis, which means it will be built on top of our existing 4G framework. This is an absolute imperative to get the 4G story right. It means we have to spread the 4G networks right across the country and make sure that they are robust enough to deal with enormous volumes of traffic,” he said.

    Sharma said that the biggest issue in evolving from 4G to 5G connectivity would be the backhaul. Sharma claims that right now, there is insufficient quantities of fibre available to operators, meaning that backhaul could end up being a throttling point for 5G network speeds. Indeed, it is already having an effect on the country’s 4G networks.

    “The 5G capabilities are being introduced to our networks right now. It will not just be a case of flicking a switch and going from 4G to 5G.

    “For example, Massive MIMO. I just tested the speed on our network using the Ookla speed test. We are clocking speeds of 39.8Mbps on our 4G network right now, which is pretty good. That’s because we have already deployed Massive MIMO technology on our network. Massive MIMO is a 5G technology but we have already deployed over 5,000 Massive MIMO sites across the country. That is the second biggest deployment of that technology in the world. It’s already here.

    So, why are the speeds stuck at 39Mbps and not going on to 100 or 200Mbps? Its not a spectrum issue, its not a radio issue, it’s a backhaul issue. We have to have fibre everywhere as far as I’m concerned. We could even make it a shared fibre network, to ensure that everyone has access to that essential fibre that will power their 5G backhaul. Either that, or we need a massive release of microwave spectrum in the E-band for mobile backhaul. If you give me either of those things, we could see speeds of 100Mbps+ on our exiting 4G networks today,” he said.

    https://www.totaltele.com/503557/Vodafone-Idea-CEO-We-must-nail-4G-if-we-want-to-do-5G-right

  7. Affordable, adequate and clean 5G spectrum need of the hour: Rajan Mathews
    In an interaction with ETTelecom, Rajan Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said, “The industry needs affordable spectrum – present pricing is not appropriate.

    While limited participation from telecom operators is being speculated in the upcoming 5G spectrum auction, the telecom industry representative body has made clear that the current spectrum pricing is not appropriate and the industry would need affordable, adequate and clean spectrum to take up 5G.
    In an interaction with ETTelecom, Rajan Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said, “The industry needs affordable spectrum – present pricing is not appropriate. Secondly we need clean spectrum because now there appears to be all types of contention among various government, space and satellite agencies.”

    “Globally when everybody is looking at 28 GHz to be added to what we call as the mobility band of spectrum; we’re finding that we’re locked out of that because of the use of that band by the satellite industry,” he added.

    Global rating agency Fitch had recently said that India’s reserve price of $70 million per MHz is “expensive”, and will force Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel to participate in 5G spectrum auctions in a “limited” way.

    “We’re seeing balkanization of spectrum, such as in 3.3 GHz to 3.5 GHz band. Even when we look at 26 GHz band, we’re seeing the same problems,” commented Mathews.

    https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/affordable-adequate-and-clean-5g-spectrum-need-of-the-hour-rajan-mathews/70601689

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