The next generation 5G networks are expected to provide data speeds at least 20 times faster than 4G. It is seen as vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.
New telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, earlier this week, confirmed that 5G trials will begin in the next 100 days and the spectrum will be auctioned before the end of the year.
As the country prepares to launch the sale process, the cellular operators are seeking the government to include 28 GHz band along with 26 GHz.
The US, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong have already auctioned 28 GHz spectrum and started deployments without waiting for the International Telecom Union (ITU) to identify the band.
In a recent letter to telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said India must emulate them as it will enable the country to leverage “the concerted global 5G ecosystem developments around this band,” which is considered ideal for ultra-fast wireless broadband services.
As reported by the Economics Times, the association also suggested the telecom department (DoT) to seek the sector regulator’s views on pricing these premium airwaves.
Proposed pricing of 5G spectrum is unaffordable: COAI
Mobile service providers will have to bid for blocks of at least 20 units, so securing pan-India 5G spectrum will cost a company at least $1.42 billion at base price levels.
The association feel that this base price is too high, given that the state of 5G ecosystem.
The proposed auction price will be a “serious impediment” to the uptake of 5G in India, said Rajan Mathews, director general of lobby group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).
India’s largest telecommunications companies, including Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel Ltd and Reliance Industries Ltd’s Jio – all members of COAI – are expected to participate in the auction.
The 5G spectrum auctions are expected to raise a lot of revenue for the government. The next generation 5G networks are expected to provide data speeds at least 20 times faster than 4G. It is seen as vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and artificial intelligence.