Higher spectrum availability to add $27b to India’s GDP: GSMA – RCR Wireless News

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The GSMA also reiterated that the upper 6 GHz band must be part of the spectrum roadmap in India

The widespread availability of spectrum for 5G services could contribute nearly $27 billion to India’s GDP by 2030, according to global telecom industry association GSMA.

The body also reiterated in a press statement that the upper 6 GHz band must be part of the spectrum roadmap in the Asian country.

“India’s 5G momentum has gained global attention and respect. For it to continue, and for the full realization of the Indian government’s digital ambitions, a clear roadmap to deliver spectrum for growing mobile demand is needed. The upper 6 GHz band must be part of that roadmap and bringing it into commercial use will require close collaboration between government and the mobile industry,” said Luciana Camargos, head of spectrum at the GSMA.

The GSMA also called for a partnership between the Indian government and the domestic mobile sector to help drive the commercialization of the 6 GHz mobile spectrum.

Last year, the GSMA had said that India should identify and support 6 GHz spectrum for the expansion of 5G services across the country. In a letter to India’s communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, the GSMA said: “The 6 GHz range is the primary mid-band spectrum to meet the needs for 5G expansion and its timely availability will drive cost-efficient network deployment, help lower the broadband usage gap and support digital inclusion.”

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had argued that at least 1,200 megahertz of spectrum needs to be allocated for mobile communications in India. Currently, only 720 megahertz is available in the mid-band in India, the entity said.

COAI represents incumbent operators Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. Jio and Airtel have completed pan-India deployments of their 5G networks, while Vodafone Idea has yet to commercially launch its 5G services.

India plans to award additional spectrum for mobile services next month. In the upcoming auction, 5G airwaves in 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.8 GHz, 2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, 2.5 GHz, 3.3 GHz and 26 GHz bands will be put up for sale.

According to sources with knowledge of the matter, the auction will only draw a few bids from Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) for renewing their frequencies.

The permits of Bharti Airtel and Vi will expire in 2024 in some of India’s geographic circles. Airtel’s airwave renewals this year are in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands in the circles of J&K, Odisha, Bihar, UP-East, West Bengal and Assam. Vi faces spectrum renewals in West Bengal (900 MHz and 1800 MHz) and UP-West (900 MHz).

Earlier this year, the DoT confirmed it will not auction the 600 MHz band in the upcoming spectrum auction, as the body aims to conduct more studies to ensure there is no interference with satellite operations.

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