India is one those countries which still doesn’t have 5G but as the Cabinet approves the 5G spectrum auction, this could soon change. The spectrum auction is all set to take place by the end of July 2022 post which, companies and telecom operators will finally be able to rollout 5G services in India.
Through an official statement, the union government confirmed that 5G will rollout at a faster pace than how 4G was launched seven years ago in 2015, in India. Moreover, the statement also mentioned the fact that India received a big boost through the rapid expansion of 4G services across the country since 2015. It said that eighty crore subscribers have access to broadband today compared to ten crore subscribers in 2014.
“The 4G ecosystem created in the country is now leading to 5G indigenous development. The 5G test bed setup in 8 top technology institutes of India is speeding up the launch of domestic 5G technology in India. The PLI (Production-Linked Incentives) schemes for mobile handsets, telecom equipments and the launch of the India Semiconductor Mission is expected to help build a strong ecosystem for the launch of 5G services in India”, the statement read.
A total of 72097.85 MHz of spectrum will be put to auction, with a validity period of 20 years. It will be held by the end of July, 2022. The auction will be held for spectrum in various Low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), Mid (3300 MHz) and High (26 GHz) frequency bands.
“It is expected that the Mid and High band spectrum will be utilised by Telecom Service Providers to roll-out of 5G technology-based services capable of providing speed and capacities which would be about 10 times higher than what is possible through the current 4G services”, read the statement.
5G will be Beneficial for the Telco operators
The government says that the 5G services will be more beneficial for the operators because of the reforms made to the telecom sector by the union government in September last year. In its statement, the government said, “The reforms include zero Spectrum Usage Charges (SUC) on the spectrum acquired in the upcoming auction, providing significant relief to the service providers in terms of the operating cost of telecom networks. Further, the requirement of submitting a financial bank guarantee equivalent to one annual instalment has also been done away with”.
Further, the government says that there won’t be any compulsion to make upfront spectrum bid payments by the successful bidders. Payments for spectrum can be made in 20 equal annual instalments to be paid in advance at the beginning of each year. This, according to the government, is expected to significantly ease cash flow requirements and lower the cost of doing business in this sector. The bidders would be given an option to surrender the spectrum after 10 years with no future liabilities with respect to balance instalments.
“The availability of sufficient backhaul spectrum is also necessary to enable the roll-out of 5G services. To meet the backhaul demand, the Cabinet has decided to provisionally allot 2 carriers of 250 MHz each in E-band to the Telecom Service Providers. The Cabinet also decided to double the number of traditional Microwave backhaul carriers in the existing frequency bands of 13, 15, 18 and 21 GHz bands”, the statement mentions.
The Cabinet also decided to enable the development and setting up of Private Captive Networks to bring out a new wave of innovations in Industry 4.0 applications such as machine-to-machine communications, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) across automotive, healthcare, agriculture, energy, and other sectors.