Regulatory policy

SIA calls on government to align 5G spectrum policy with Europe

The Satellite Communications Industry Association or SIA has written to the government expressing concern over the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on spectrum auctions and asking them to match the allocation policy radio waves with Europe and more than 120 countries.

In a letter to Telecommunications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the SIA highlighted serious reservations about TRAI’s proposals to include the 27.5-28.5 GHz and 3.60-3.67 GHz bands in the proposed 5G spectrum auction.

“This will certainly impact existing businesses and affect the livelihoods of those already using these bands and established services, including substantial investments being made to deliver broadcast and broadband services via satellite,” said SIA, as reported by PTI.

The 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands, known as the millimeter wave (mmWave) bands, are high frequency bands that transmit signals over shorter distances but at extremely fast speeds. Compared to base stations erected on large towers for 2G to 4G mobile services, mobile base stations broadcasting signals in these bands for 5G services will need to be closer to each other.

According to SIA, the government has already implemented more than a dozen measures in September last year to help the mobile service industry to thrive and grow and to protect the frequency in the 27.5 band at 29.5 GHz, which is the global priority for satellites, should be a top priority. . He added that promoting one sector over another could lead to protectionism.

While the International Telecommunication Union, which organizes and finalizes the use of spectrum worldwide, has only identified the 26 GHz band for 5G mobile services, rather than the 28 GHz band, TRAI suggested that services Satellite and mobile share spectrum in the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands.

According to SIA, there are no studies on the shared use of the 28 GHz band for mobile and satellite services; therefore, it would be risky for India.

He also said, “India should align with Europe and the 120+ countries that have allocated 5G IMT and ESIM (Earth Satellite in Motion/Fixed Satellite Service) GSO (Geostationary Satellite Orbit) and non-GSO in separate bands.”

According to SIA, it has also been discovered that handing over satellite-worthy bands would lead to a significant loss in total economic prospects, as Indian citizens would be denied access to modern, high-demand satellite broadband services.

The group also explained that the additional spectrum being auctioned has a two-pronged effect: it creates oversupply that dampens government auction proceeds while crippling the established economic value provided by other sectors using those frequencies. The government is in the process of finalizing TRAI’s auction recommendations.

However, according to telecom minister Vaishnaw, despite concerns from telecom operators and lobby groups over high prices, India’s 5G spectrum auction is expected to take place in June this year. The Minister recently stated that the Department of Telecommunications is working on schedule and the process of resolving industry concerns regarding spectrum pricing is underway.

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