India initiates process to award additional 5G spectrum: Report

Through this process, the DoT aims to unlock and sell a total of 5,500 megahertz of spectrum

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has formed an internal group with the aim of developing a plan to include the 37.0-42.5 GHz range as international mobile telecommunications (IMT) bands, which would allow local carrier to utilize this spectrum, according to a report by local newspaper The Economic Times.

The report noted that through the potential future award of this spectrum, local carrier will be able to offer 5G fixed wireless access services across India.  

Through this process, the DoT aims to unlock and sell a total of 5,500 megahertz of spectrum.

Once the DoT submits its proposal for the 37.0–42.5 GHz band, a committee will formally declare the band as IMT, paving the way for the sale of the frequencies, according to the report. 

The report also noted that both satellite providers and telecom operators could bid for this spectrum band.

The DoT would also propose the base price for this spectrum to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) after the DoT’s committee approves the sale of the airwaves.

This spectrum is currently being used by a number of satellite operators for their earth stations.

According to the report, the 37.0-43.5 GHz range was approved as an extra band for IMT services during the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The much-awaited 5G spectrum auction in India concluded on August 1 and according to the country’s telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, local carriers purchased a total $19 billion worth of spectrum.

Reliance Jio walked away with the most spectrum, having spent $11 billion. Airtel won spectrum worth $5.4 billion, while Vodafone received spectrum worth $2.4 billion. Finally, Adani purchased spectrum worth approximately $27 million, which it will use to offer private 5G network services.

According to Indian press reports, some of the cities that will initially have 5G services are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune.

5G is projected to account for almost 40% of mobile subscriptions in India – 500 million – by the end of 2027, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report.

According to the Swedish vendor, even though 5G has not been launched commercially, there is already a good foundation for 5G uptake in India. An Ericsson ConsumerLab study indicated that 40 million smartphone users in India could take up 5G in its first year of availability.

According to an Ericsson-Arthur D Little study, 5G will enable Indian mobile service providers to generate $17 billion in incremental revenue from enterprises by 2030. Much of this is projected to be driven by the adoption of 5G in the manufacturing, energy and utilities, ICT and retail industries.

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