The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents India's top three telecom operators (Jio, Airtel, and Vodafone Idea), has asked the regulator to avail millimetre wave bands for the 5G auctions.
COAI director general S.P Kochhar wrote a letter to Anshu Prakash, secretary of Department of Telecommunications (DoT), requesting the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) to “earmark” and include millimetre wave bands in the 5G auctions.
According to an ET Telecom report, the industry body has also asked for confirmations about the quantum of spectrum available and its base price for the 5G auctions.
Millimetre Wave Bands Essential to Keep 5G Services Affordable in India
In his note, Kochhar highlighted the importance of including the millimetre wave bands (26 GHz, 28 GHz, and 37 GHz) for providing 5G services at affordable rates.
He mentioned that after a great deal of effort from the DoT, the International Telecom Union (ITU) recognised the 26 GHz and 28 GHz mmWave bands as essential for the 5G roll out.
It is worth noting that a month ago, the parliamentary panel led by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had asked the government to earmark all the millimetre wave bands essential for the 5G roll out in consultation with Trai.
Trai has only earmarked airwaves in the 3.3 GHz to 3.6 GHz spectrum bands for 5G in India. But COAI wants it to reconsider and include the airwaves in the millimetre wave band as well.
Telecom operators want the regulator to allocate 400 units of millimetre wave spectrum to each operator for ensuring an affordable 5G roll out in the country. Without the millimetre wave bands, the cost for deploying 5G will increase multiple folds rendering it unaffordable.
Telcos have expressed that the 26 GHz and 28 GHz spectrum is very important for 5G’s business case in India. Without it, all the 5G services would become very expensive.