COAI Says Delicensing of Spectrum in 6GHz Band Could Hamper 5G, 6G Rollout in India, Cause Loss to Exchequer

COAI Says Delicensing of Spectrum in 6GHz Band Could Hamper 5G, 6G Rollout in India, Cause Loss to Exchequer


Telecom industry body COAI has cautioned the telecom department that delicensing spectrum in the 6 Ghz band will hamper roll out of 5G advance and 6G services in the country.

In a letter dated August 10 to Department of Telecom Secratory Apurva Chandra, the Cellular Operators Association of India — whose members include Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea, etc — has requested the Department of Telecom to include the 6 gigahertz spectrum in the auction and support its allocation for mobile telecommunication at the global level.

COAI said that the 6 GHz band is the only additional contiguous spectrum available in mid-band for IMT (International Mobile Telecommunications), beyond what has already been put up in auction.

“Hence, it is important for future growth of 5G and beyond technologies, including the roadmap for 6G introduction in India. This spectrum will be crucial as India firms up an action plan for Bharat 6G. Delicensing this important chunk of spectrum will seriously hamper the deployment of 5G+ and 6G In India,” COAI Director General SP Kochhar said in the letter.

The industry body has cautioned the department that heeding the demand of Wifi service providers to make the 6 GHz band freely available will lead to revenue loss to the government.

“We understand that some industry body(ies) have approached your good office, demanding that this band be delicensed for promoting Wifi services in the country. We believe that this spectrum can be utilised far more efficiently for the benefit of the nation and our citizens by augmenting 5G services in India,” Kochhar said.

The DoT had delicensed or made the 600 megahertz of spectrum freely available in the 5 GHz band in 2018.

COAI said that delicensed 255 MHz in the 600 Mhz spectrum is completely unutilised in the absence of device ecosystem support.

“We believe that not using the available spectrum optimally and demanding more spectrum on top of that would lead to waste of such a scarce available valuable resource,” Kochhar said.

According to the industry body’s letter, the top speed of Wifi will remain the same in 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands at 9.6 gigabits per second, which will not lead to any real value addition for end-consumers.

The COAI DG said that any delicensing of 6 GHz or part thereof will reduce the spectrum for 5G and thereby limit the growth of 5G and 6G, which would be the main drivers of broadband in the country.

“For instance, the recent mid-band (C band) spectrum auctions of 2022 in India have derived a sale value of Rs 317 crore per MHz. This clearly indicates the huge potential implication of the decision on licensing or de-licensing the 1200 MHz spectrum (of 6 GHz band) to the government exchequer,” Kocchar said.

COAI has requested the DoT and Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing (WPC) to continue supporting the upper part of the 6 GHz band, which is a frequency range between 6425-7125 MHz for mobile telecommunications in the Asia Pacific Telecommunity Conference Preparatory Group for World Radiocommunication Conference 2023.

The conference is organised by a UN body International Telecommunications Union to decide on spectrum use in various bands.

The sixth meeting of the APG started on Monday and will continue till August 19.

“DoT to kindly take further decision on inclusion of the lower part of the band, i.e. 5925-6425 MHz in IMT. The above decision will go a long way in creating certainty around critical spectrum required for 5G/IMT technologies and will clear the path for auction of this spectrum,” Kochhar said. 

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