Industry body COAI on Tuesday made an aggressive pitch for setting aside mid band 6GHz spectrum for mobile operators, saying it is critical for proliferation of 5G services, and that delicensing it to a "use for all" will hit the quality and cost of the next-generation services. Radiowaves in 6GHz is a sweetspot for telecom service providers as the current spectrum in the mid band is "woefully short of requirement of telcos."
Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) cautioned that 5G deployments, speeds and affordability of services will "suffer greatly" if 6GHz spectrum is not allocated to mobile services in India.Spectrum in the 6GHz band, with its propagation qualities, will be ideal for mobile services in densely populated areas, specially urban locations, and mobile operators are pitted against Wifi players, in staking claim over this band."Right now, about 720 MHz spectrum that telcos have in the mid band range is not enough for the requirements," SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI said briefing reporters on the need for 6GHz spectrum allocation for 5G services.
It is pertinent to mention that 5G services were launched on October 1, 2022, and within a span of 100 days have been rolled out in 200-plus cities across the country. In addition to powering ultra-low latency connections, which allow downloading full-length high-quality video or movie to a mobile device in a matter of seconds (even in crowded areas), the fifth Generation or 5G would, going forward, enable solutions such as e-health, connected vehicles, more-immersive augmented reality and metaverse experiences, life-saving use cases, and advanced mobile cloud gaming, among others.
According to COAI, 6 GHz is the last remaining mid band spectrum where city wide coverage can be provided with mobile networks. In India, the primary source of internet connectivity remains the mobile networks for more than 95 per cent of users. COAI had recommended that any decision on "delicensing" any part of this band, must be avoided.
"Licensed 6GHz is ideal for commercial success and deployment of 5G NR (New Radio), 5.5 G, and 6G in the future," COAI said. If this 6GHz mid band spectrum is not allocated for mobile services, it could impact overall quality of offerings and lead to increased costs for telecom operators, who are in the midst of rolling out 5G services across the country, Kochhar said.
COAI has already made its submissions in this regard to the telecom department, Kochhar said adding that the department has formed a committee to look into the entire issue. COAI has said that co-existence in this band with satellite services is acceptable, as it will not hamper the services for either sides.