5G is being rolled out in India at a great speed. But for it to make a lasting impact in the country, it would have to reach every corner and ensure last-mile connectivity. For that, the telcos will continuously have to upgrade their spectrum portfolio. The mid-band spectrum is the most important for mass 5G deployment, and thus, the telcos will need an ample amount of it to deliver 5G to customers across the nation. In the 5G spectrum auction of 2022, telcos were given the opportunity to bid for mid-band spectrum in the 3.3-3.67 GHz band. But this is not all that the telcos would be able to use to reach the entire length and breadth of India.
According to GSMA, there's a need for at least 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum in each country for a successful 5G rollout. India has the opportunity to offer that to the telcos by putting the 6 GHz band up for auction. However, the tech companies represented by the Broadband India Forum (BIF) want the 6 GHz band spectrum to be delicensed for Wi-Fi services. Tech companies believe that Wi-Fi services complement mobile networks by providing connectivity in areas where mobile networks aren't strong.
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If the 6 GHz band is delicensed, then the telcos will face a shortfall of spectrum in their mid-band portfolio. In a blog post, GSMA said, "For 5G to flourish, each country needs 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum to meet demand by 2030. This is a challenging goal, but the earliest adopters are starting to move closer to this target in their spectrum roadmaps and through assignments."
India needs the 6 GHz spectrum to be auctioned for 5G it wants to meet the minimum need of 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum by 2030. More and more enhanced IoT (Internet-of-Things) devices would start consuming 5G's bandwidth in the coming years. The telcos will have no other option but to get the 6 GHz spectrum in their portfolio.
In case the govt decides to delicense the 6 GHz spectrum, then it would lose out on a lot of revenues it could have earned from putting it in the auction. The government has a lot to deliberate upon in the coming days and months. The telcos are rooting for the 6 GHz spectrum to be put into the auction while the tech companies want it to be delicensed.