DoT’s Delay in Revising NFAP Policy Costs Precious Time for 5G Trials

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DoT 5G Trials

The faster the 5G trials conclude in the country, the faster the telecom service providers (TSPs) will be able to roll out the commercial 5G networks. However, due to the delay from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in introducing a revised National Frequency Allocation Policy (NFAP), the telcos are in confusion about whether or not they should go ahead with the millimetre wave bands (26 GHz - 28 GHz) for conducting trials.

Telcos Worried About Making Unnecessary Expenses During 5G Trials

According to an ET Telecom report, the TSPs don’t want to waste their time, money, and resources in conducting 5G trials with the millimetre wave (mmWave) bands if the DoT isn’t even going to include it in the revised NFAP.

All the use cases developed around 5G with the mmWave bands will be rendered useless if the DoT doesn’t allot the coveted mmWave bands to the telcos at affordable rates. The industry had asked the telecom department to introduce a revised NFAP long back, but there has been no progress in the matter.

The Cellular Operators Association of India’s (COAI) Director-General, SP Kochhar, said that a reminder had been sent to the DoT for speeding up the announcement of a revised NFAP policy. Kochhar said that despite several meetings between DoT and the working bodies, the telecom department hasn’t rolled out the revised NFAP.

Telecom operators only need clarity on the availability of mmWave bands at affordable rates in the new NFAP so that it is feasible for them to develop 5G use cases around it. If the telecom department doesn’t avail the coveted mmWave bands to the telcos at affordable rates, the deployment costs of 5G for the operators will jump multiple folds. This would further mean that the service would become too expensive for the end consumer to consume.

The next 5G auctions will need to have the mmWave 5G bands so that the operators can roll out affordable 5G. Further, only then the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) would be able to examine and determine fresh pricing for the spectrum bands in the next auctions.

If the DoT doesn’t announce a revised NFAP soon, the trials will be delayed, and the 5G auctions will be delayed even further.

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