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5G panel identifies 6000 Mhz spectrum as available for next gen service
TT Correspondent |  |  18 Jun 2018

The 5G committee of the telecom ministry has said that around 6000 megahertz (Mhz) of spectrum can be made available without delay for the next generation mobile service.

If accepted, the panel's recommendation, which has been submitted to the government, can lead to India's largest ever spectrum allocation for a service.

An expert member of the panel, Arogyaswami Paulraj said in an interview that initially the service will enhance mobile data speed in India by up to 50 per cent compared to current levels.

Paulraj is Professor Emeritus, Stanford University, and a pioneer of MIMO wireless communications, a technology break through that enables improved wireless performance.

MIMO is now incorporated into all new wireless systems, as per Stanford site.

The Department of Telecom (DoT) is taking strong initiative to make spectrum available for the new service, Paulraj said.

As much as 2,354.55 MHz of frequencies valued at around Rs 5.63 lakh crore were put up for grabs in country's largest ever auction held in 2016. At present mobile phone signals in the country are transmitted in 800 Mhz to 2600 Mhz band.

Now, the panel has spotted spectrum for 5G service across 11 bands of which 4 bands - premium 700 Mhz band, 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz), 24 Ghz and 28 Ghz band can be made immediately available for the service.

The panel estimates that 5,250 megahertz of spectrum can be made available for 5G services in higher frequency bands, 300 Mhz in 3.5 Ghz band and 405 Mhz spectrum in sub- 1000 Mhz.

Paulraj said: "Spectrum reduces cost of infrastructure. People will benefit from it. Our spectrum release in 5G will be more than spectrum to be released in many countries.

"If you have more spectrum you can use less base station to serve more people, the cost goes down. If there is less spectrum, you have to deploy many BTS (mobile sites) and everybody pays the penalty."

He said that unlike earlier generation technologies including 3G and 4G, the next gen 5G will not be limited to mobile services but will play an important role in societal transformation with usage in power grids, smart cities, agriculture, banking, railways, healthcare and the like.

Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha has set the target for commercial roll out of 5G services in India by 2020 at par with advanced countries of the world.

Paulraj said: "India has already taken lead over many other countries. Perhaps first country to do spectrum in 5G was US and I would think may be a little bit from Europe.

"Otherwise we are ahead of many countries in the world. Bringing spectrum early will enable lot of things. Most importantly, I feel it will enable growth of that manufacturing ability in our country."

Padma Bhushan award recipient Paulraj said the panel has not deliberated on spectrum allocation modalities but favoured issuing the radio waves to telecom operators at rational prices.

"To serve people of our country, operators must deploy (5G). For them to be able to deploy, they have to be profitable. So spectrum pricing must understand all this dimensions so that operators can make viable business out of it," he said.

He said that spectrum price per unit for 5G service in higher frequency bands cannot be priced at same level as lower frequency band.

"Upper bands will be at a lower price. Also remember in order to deploy in upper band there is much more infrastructure required. It is more expensive for them to deploy in upper band. So obviously spectrum should be cheaper for them," Paulraj said.

In lower frequency band like 700 Mhz band the mobile signal can cover wide area but the coverage shrinks as the frequency band count increase like in 3.5 Ghz, 24 Ghz an

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18 Jun 2018(IST)  
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