Industry pings Telecom secretary for a 5G panel plan

The move comes after telcos recently urged the government to allot sub-3500 MHz 5G spectrum free of cost for 5G fixed wireless services to augment networks capacities at a time when existing 4G networks are facing severe capacity constraints amid ...

Phone companies have urged telecom secretary Anshu Prakash to speed up the formation of a key inter-ministerial panel to finalise India’s 5G spectrum deployment game plan that will be discussed at a key meeting of the International Telecom Union (ITU) next month.

The move comes after telcos recently urged the government to allot sub-3500 MHz 5G spectrum free of cost for 5G fixed wireless services to augment networks capacities at a time when existing 4G networks are facing severe capacity constraints amid surging home internet consumption during the Covid19 lockdowns.

Rajan Mathews, director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), in a letter to telecom secretary Anshu Prakash has urged “DoT to create a National Preparatory Committee (NPC) and the relevant National Study Groups (NSGs) to begin the preparatory work to achieve the position of the Indian Administration” on deployment of various (5G) bands, including millimetre wave bands identified at ITU’s World Radio Communications-2019 conference last November.


India’s position on 5G needs to be communicated to ITU at the global regulatory agency’s upcoming meeting on June 23, but this can happen only after NPC has formalised India’s stand.

“Over six months have elapsed since ITU identified spectrum bands, including the coveted 26 GHz millimeter wave frequencies for global 5G deployments including in India, but the government is yet to even constitute the NPC to finalise India’s position on allocation of 5G spectrum resources, be it for mobility or fixed wireless service,” a senior industry executive told ET.

The NPC will be an inter-ministerial panel, comprising officials of DoT, the Department of Space and ministries of information & broadcasting and defence, and is likely to be chaired by India’s wireless planning advisor.
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Some industry insiders said the matter has been hanging fire as 5G is not an immediate priority of the government, with plans to go only for a 4G spectrum sale this year, and 5G only in 2021 due to an under-developed devices ecosystem and stressed telco finances.

Others though say India’s position on 5G needs to finalised and communicated to ITU next month as sub-GHz airwaves in the 700 MHz, 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz and 1800 Mhz likely to be auctioned this year can also be deployed for 5G.
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