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.

7 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.

  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.

  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.

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