5G roll out in India has been delayed due to a number of factors, bad planning from the government being one. One of the major reasons why 5G has not launched in the country yet is the unavailability of the dedicated 5G spectrum.
As per a PTI report, Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State for Communications, said, the telcos can use the spectrum purchased in the recently held auctions for rolling out 5G. It is worth noting that the spectrum bands put into the auction by the government were all considered as apt for providing 4G services.
The dedicated 5G spectrum in the 3300-3600 MHz band was not included in the auctions.
Bharti Airtel Has Already Tested 5G in the 1800 MHz Spectrum Band
For the unaware, Airtel has already demonstrated a successful 5G test using the dynamic spectrum sharing technology in Hyderabad.
The telco used the 1800 MHz liberalised spectrum band for the test during February. Airtel said that it could provide 5G services using sub-GHz bands (800/900 MHz) and neutral mid-bands (1800/2100/2300 MHz).
However, it is worth considering if that would be enough to unleash the true potential of 5G in India. The telcos haven’t even tested 5G with the 3300-3600 MHz band because of spectrum unavailability.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) might conduct the 5G spectrum auctions later this year. But until then, telcos have no other option but to wait and keep improving their technology for upgrading rapidly to 5G as soon as the dedicated spectrum is available.
Will the telcos pay heed to the words of Dhotre and go with a soft-launch of 5G in the metro cities using their current spectrum portfolio? However unlikely that may sound, it remains to be seen.
The recent 4G spectrum auctions saw telcos bidding for 855.60 MHz of spectrum for a total valuation of Rs 77,802.82 crores.