The government must not auction off the 27.5-28.5 GHz band but leave it to the satellite companies


According to official sources, the government is not allowed to auction off the frequency range between 27.5 and 28.5 gigahertz and release it for satellite services.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had recommended a base price for this spectrum range and suggested that it could be used for both mobile and satellite services.

Two official sources confirmed that the Department of Telecom (DoT) is considering auctioning spectrum only up to 27.5 GHz due to difficulties in sharing between the two services.

“TRAI also understands that it is difficult for 5G and satellite broadcasters to work side by side. We are auctioning only up to 27.5 GHz,” an official source said.

However, when asked by PTI whether the government was considering not auctioning off the 27.5-28.5 GHz band and letting it be used for satellite services, the Ministry of Telecommunications said the information was “a rumour”.

The official said the government is looking into allowing Earth Stations In Motion (ESIM) in 27.5-28.5 GHz, which is available for airborne and sea links, but in the meantime there are no plans to concede that frequency range auction.

When contacted, the DoT said, “Regarding the email you sent, I have been instructed to inform you that the information or statements mentioned in the email are rumored.”

A senior DoT official said there are multiple views within the department and nothing is final yet.

“The Digital Communications Commission (DCC) will be taking a call on this matter. It will send a reference back to TRAI and based on TRAI’s response, DCC will substantiate its view. The final decision is made by the cabinet. DCC will only share its recommendation with the Cabinet. Nothing final yet. Everything is in limbo,” the officer, who asked not to be named, told PTI.

TRAI has floated a mega auction plan worth more than 7.5 lakh crore at base price across multiple bands for over 30 years of allotted radio waves.

The regulator has recommended that the millimeter wave spectrum between 24.25 and 28.5 GHz be used for capacity requirements and its deployment is unlikely to be ubiquitous, more of a type of hotspot or urban microcell.

Therefore, it proposed that both mobile service stations and the satellite earth station gateway (Earth to space) can coexist in the 27.5-28.5 GHz frequency range.

“The satellite earth station gateway should be allowed to be set up on a case-by-case basis in uninhabited or remote locations in the 27.5-28.5 GHz band where 5G IMT services are less likely to be provided,” Trai had said .

Telecoms Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the auctions, which will pave the way for 5G services in the country, are expected to take place in early June and the services are expected to be rolled out from August to September this year.

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