The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology in a notice its members highlighted that it would be hearing from the representatives of Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea on “India’s preparedness for 5G.” The committee headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday in a notice to its members said that it would have two sessions on October 27, 2020. In the initial session scheduled for 4 pm on October 27, 2020, the standing committee would hear the views of the telecom operators while the second session would involve the Ministry of Communications.
Parliamentary Committee to Hear from Telecom Operators on 5G
According to the agenda released by the Parliamentary Committee, the representatives from Ministry of Communications such as DoT along with Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) would be touched on “India’s preparedness for 5G.”
The Parliamentary Standing Committee in early August had also questioned the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on 5G preparedness and the reasons for its delay in India. Twenty members from Lok Sabha and 10 members from Rajya Sabha are part of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology.
Telecom Operators Need Over 1 Lakh Crore Investment for Pan India 5G
Meanwhile, Motilal Oswal Financial Services in a research report on October 16, 2020 said that the telecom operators in India “may wait” for three or more years before deploying 5G technology.
“With no new players, nascent use cases, limited incremental revenue potential, spectrum woes along with an inherently low ARPU structure in India, we believe telcos may wait for the 5G technology to stabilize globally and see a reduction in equipment cost, before deploying fresh technology,” Motilal Oswal Financial Services said in its report.
The firm also said that with the government pricing the 700 MHz band at an “exorbitant” rate, the mid-band spectrum between 3300 MHz to 3600 MHz would be “best suited” for the operators. Motilal Oswal said that the mid-band spectrum is suited due to its price and the quantity available.
“However, given the coverage related difficulty of the mid-band spectrum, telcos may deploy 5G with a fallback dependency on 4G,” the firm said in its report. “This could initially restrict 5G investments significantly to only high data consumption locations.”
Motilal Oswal said that the telecom operators would have to make investments on three components for 5G network including spectrum, sites and fiber. The firm said that investments required would be in the range of Rs 1.3 lakh crore to Rs 2.3 lakh crore for the pan-India low band and mid-band spectrum. However, Motilal Oswal highlighted that the investments should reduce to Rs 78,000 crore to Rs 1.3 lakh crore for the coverage in only Metros and category ‘A’ circles.
“Undoubted, the quantum of investment is exorbitantly high given the stressed balance sheet of telcos and the low prevailing ARPUs,” the firm said in its report. “Therefore, we believe in the initial phase, telcos may selectively choose spectrum in a few circles and run 5G for select enterprise-driven Internet of Things (IoT) operations.”