The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has stated that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) should make a decision on whether the frequencies in the 27.5-28.5 GHz band to be auctioned or allocated administratively. TRAI also added that the 5G airwaves reservation for state-run telco – BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) could be decided soon. The comments from the sector regulator came in response to the telecom department’s back reference on Monday.
The Current Scenario
The top decision-making body of the department Digital Communications Commission (DCC) a couple of weeks ago asked for the opinion of the sector regulator on the 28 GHz band sought by space broadband companies to allocate administratively. TRAI in response has stated that it is for the DoT to decide whether the frequency range 27.5-28.5 GHz is to be allocated/auctioned for IMT/5G.
However, when TRAI released its recommendations for the auction of the 5G spectrum, it had stated that both terrestrial networks and satellite services can co-exist in the 28 GHz band with protection measures so that airwaves can be optimally utilised. TRAI has also said that any spectrum available should be put on sale in the upcoming auction. As far as the 24.25-28.5 GHz bandwidth is considered, the sector regulator said that it had put it on sale to avoid any delay in the rollout of the 5G network.
TRAI has recommended that in 600 MHz (APT 600 Option B1), 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz, 3300-3670 MHz and 24.25-28.5 GHz spectrum bands, every available spectrum should be put on auction that is going to take place in June. As far as BSNL and MTNL are considered, TRAI stated that the reservation of the spectrum for the state-owned telcos should be decided by the telecom department.
For that unaware, last month TRAI recommended a base price of Rs 317 crore a unit for airwaves in the premium 3.3-3.67 GHz band which is about 36% less than its previous recommendations back in 2018. The price for the 700 MHz band has also been reduced by 70% bringing it down to Rs 3,297 crore. The government plans to auction more than 100,000 MHz of airwaves valued at about Rs 5 lakh crore in June and expects to roll out 5G networks in August.