The Department of telecommunication has been hard at work as it is preparing to conduct the next round of airwaves sale in the upcoming Spectrum Auction. In the process, DoT has been consulting the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for the pricing and quantum of spectrum that should be put up for sale in the auction.
DoT in its latest circular to TRAI has informed it about fresh spectrum that has become available to DoT as a result of surrendering of airwaves held by the Ministry of defence and Indian Railways in the 900 and 1800 MHz band after last year’s auction. Also DoT has asked TRAI’s views on making additional spectrum available in 850 MHz band by eliminating the guard band requirements. The band wise details are mentioned below.
1800 MHz Band:
Until now in the 1800 MHz band out of the total 75 MHz bandwidth, 55 MHz was available for Pan India for Telecom usage whereas 20 MHz was reserved for the Ministry of Defence. Now the MoD has released an additional 10 MHz to DoT in 3 circles and 15 Mhz in 2 circles taking DoT’s total holding in these circles to 65 and 70 MHz respectively. The circle wise details are mentioned below.
900 MHz Band:
The 900 MHz band has a total capacity of 25 MHz but out of this 1.6 MHz Pan India was reserved for Indian Railways and certain quantum was reserved for Defence use in few circles. The railways has surrendered this 1.6 MHz in 7 circles and the MoD has surrendered its reserved spectrum in 6 circles, increasing the total available spectrum for telecom usage in these circles. The circle wise details are mentioned below.
850 MHz Band:
This band has a total capacity of 20 MHz but since this band was traditionally used for CDMA services there was a trend of keeping 0.3 MHz as guard band between the spectrum holdings of various operators, also the block size was 1.23 MHz. Now that CDMA networks are no longer operational and the usage has shifted LTE, the block sizes are being considered to be increased to 1.25 MHz and guard bands to be removed. This will result in 2 additional blocks becoming available Pan India in this band. If TRAI suggests DoT to auction these 2 blocks then it will augment the capacity by 2.5 MHz in every circle. Jio has suggested DoT to auction both blocks while Airtel and Vi have suggested to not auction the second block as it may cause interference with the 900 MHz band operations.
Also Read: Pan India Spectrum Holding 2022
It is worth noting that DoT has requested TRAI to speed up the consultation process so that DoT can go ahead with the release of the NIA for the 5G auction, sighting that the PMO has indicated its inclination to have the initial 5G launch happen on 15th August in honour of completion of 75 years of India’s Independence.