The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has written to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) asking the regulatory body to submit recommendations for 5G spectrum auctions before March-end. This is to ensure that the wish of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) of launching 5G networks by August 15, 2022, is successful. The DoT has asked the TRAI to expedite the matter and provide the recommendations at the earliest.
DoT Also Provided Information Regarding Additional Spectrum Available in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, and 1800 MHz bands for Auctions
The DoT told TRAI that a certain quantum of spectrum in the 900 MHz which was reserved for use by the government at certain locations, spread across 6 LSAs, including Haryana, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, is now available for auction. Thus, the spectrum availability in the 900 MHz band has increased.
Further, in 5 LSAs spread across Orissa, Kerala, Mumbai, Haryana, and Kolkata, the government is letting go of a certain quantum of spectrum in the 900 MHz band.
Due to LTE coming and the role of CDMA networks going out of style, the present 1.23 MHz (paired) channel plan for the 800 MHz spectrum band can be revised to 1.25 MHz (paired). The current inter-operator guard band of 0.3 MHz can also be removed as it now serves no purpose. Currently, due to the 1.23 MHz channel plan, only 14 spectrum blocks in the 800 MHz frequency band are available.
But with the revision to the 1.25 MHz channel plan, 16 spectrum blocks can be made available in the 800 MHz band.
Reliance Jio Agrees With the Move, But Airtel and Vi Don’t
Reliance Jio agrees with the recommendation of DoT about revising the channel plan of the 800 MHz bands from 1.23 MHz to 1.25 MHz and making available 16 spectrum blocks in the 800 MHz band.
However, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) don’t agree with this as it can pose a potential problem of interference from downlink (higher power) of 800 MHz bands (869-889 MHz) to uplink (lower power) of 900 MHz band (890-915 MHz) if 16 spectrum blocks are made available, and the band gap is reduced between 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands.
Airtel and Vi have demanded a guard band of 1.6 MHz. Both the operators have said that 15 spectrum blocks should be available in the 800 MHz band instead of 16.