The Information and Broadcast Ministry of India have expressed the need to place TV transmitters and the future maze of 5G base stations to be placed at least 60 kms – 100 kms apart using the 600 MHz spectrum. The need to put the transmitters and 5G base stations is important in order to prevent network interference and preserve the quality of television broadcasting services. It is to be noted that the regulator - TRAI is currently in the process of proposing the prices of the spectrum bands using the 600 MHz band. As of now, the 5G spectrum auction is being scheduled for the first half of 2022.
The Need to Create a Gap Between 5G Base Stations and TV Transmitters
According to a report from ET Telecom, the I&B Ministry has written a letter to DoT stating that since the 600 MHz band is being used by Prasar Bharti (DD) for terrestrial broadcasting, it is necessary to keep digital terrestrial television transmitters and 5G base stations separated in order to protect TV transmitter services. The ministry further added that the keep-out distance depends on the antennae/tower height, transmitter power and frequency band of operation. To emphasize its concerns, the I&B Ministry in its letter to DoT also cited a study by Geneva-based International Telecom Union (ITU).
The letter sent to DoT by the I&B Ministry has been forwarded by the former to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) which has enquired about a number of issues such as applicable reserve price, band plan, block size, the quantum of spectrum to be auctioned and more conditions related to the country’s first 5G spectrum auction. TRAI has also asked the stakeholders for opinions about any methodology that is followed somewhere else in the world which can be of value to the airwaves reserved for the 5G spectrum auction.
The stakeholders are required to submit their comments and counter comments for the 5G band pricing paper by January 10 and January 24 respectively which is already an extended deadline offered by the telecom regulator. TRAI has also issued a consultation process. As soon as the consultation process is completed and the parameters for the auction process is decided upon, then the auction and rollout of the service will begin instantaneously in the second quarter of 2022.