E-band spectrum (71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz) is very necessary for the 5G rollout as it will play a major role in helping the telcos with backhaul. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will offer an E-band spectrum to the telcos for a nominal fee and thus it won’t be put into the auctions. The spectrum will only be used for backhaul services by the telecom operators and can’t be used for providing direct access services.
According to a Financial Express report, the DoT has decided not to avail E-band spectrum in the auction. Telcos will have to pay a nominal fee to the government for the E-band airwaves. With the E-band spectrum, 4G/5G mobile towers are connected if there’s not enough fiber to do it. This enables a faster rollout of networks and services.
Proposal for E-Band Spectrum Allocation Will be Sent to Union Cabinet for Approval
According to the publication’s report, the proposal for allocation of the E-band spectrum will be sent to the Union Cabinet for approval shortly. Through the spectrum auctions, the operators will anyway get their hands on access spectrum for providing direct commercial services.
Even the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had said that the E-band spectrum should be given to the telcos via administrative allocation and the spectrum auction route should be avoided.
However, the telcos feel differently about this. Reliance Jio has recommended that spectrum auction is the right way to go for even the E-band airwaves for backhaul. However, the other two private operators including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) believe that administrative allocation is better.
TRAI is yet to submit the recommendations for 5G spectrum auction. However, the telecom minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw had said that despite the delay on TRAI’s part, India will go ahead with the spectrum auction as per schedule. Indian govt is eyeing launching 5G services by August 2022.