TRAI’s recommendations on spectrum to be Auctioned this year

Here is a bird’s eye view of TRAI’s recommendations on the various spectrum bands to be put up for sale in the upcoming 5G Auction

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 54 seconds

The Telecom Regulatory Association of India on Monday released its recommendations for the upcoming 5G auction. in this article, we highlight TRAI’s views on the various Spectrum bands to be auctioned and the quantum of spectrum to be put up for sale in each band and the respective block sizes.

600 MHz:

The Authority recommends that for 600 MHz frequency range 612-703 MHz, Band Plan APT 600 (Option B1) should be adopted in India. It is also proposed that the entire 40 MHz (paired) spectrum [612-652 MHz/663-703 MHz] should be put to auction in the forthcoming auction. The Authority recommends that considering the global trend and to provide flexibility to the TSPs, a block size of 5 MHz should be prescribed for 600 MHz band.

700 MHz:

The Authority stated that the entire available spectrum (2 x 30 MHz in each LSA) was put to auction in March 2021. However, there was no bid received in any of the LSAs. Therefore, 30 MHz (paired) in each LSA totalling 660 MHz on pan-India is available for commercial use that can be put to auction. The Authority has recommended a 5 MHz block size for this band.

800 MHz:

The Authority recommends that considering that with the closure of CDMA services, 800 MHz band is being utilized for LTE, which does not require a separate provision of inter-operator guard band, the channel plan of 800 MHz band be revised from the existing channel bandwidth of 1.23 MHz to 1.25 MHz and the provision of guard band should be done away with.

As regards the assignment of the last block from 887.75-889 MHz, DoT should carry out a limited field trial to ascertain the interband guard band requirement between 800 & 900 MHz bands. In case, the outcome of the field trial shows that the assignment can be made till 889 MHz without causing any interference to existing users in 900 MHz band, the last block in each LSA can also be put to auction, else the last block with reduced size (considering the guard band requirement) can be put to auction. In case, it is not possible to conduct and conclude the study before the forthcoming auction, the forthcoming auction should be conducted considering 15 blocks of 1.25 MHz each as total availability of spectrum in 800 MHz band and later on the decision about the last block can be taken and included in the subsequent spectrum auction.

DoT should carry out a harmonization exercise in 800 MHz band immediately after conducting the auction so that frequencies assigned to the TSPs are in a contiguous manner and any vacant spectrum is available towards the end of the spectrum band. Further, the spectrum harmonization exercise should be completed within a time frame of not more than 6 months from the date of the conclusion of the Auction.

900 MHz:

TRAI states that in the last spectrum auction held in March 2021, a total of 98.8 MHz (paired) spectrum was put to auction in the 900 MHz band in 19 LSAs. Out of this, 38.4 MHz (paired) spectrum in 9 LSAs was sold, and 60.4 MHz (paired) spectrum remained unsold. Therefore, the entire unsold spectrum (60.4 MHz), is available for auction. Additionally, Indian Railways in 23 States / UTs has surrendered spectrum earmarked to them in the 900 MHz band which has resulted in the availability of additional 1.6 MHz (paired) quantum of spectrum in 900 MHz in 7 LSAs namely Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, North East, Orissa, Tamilnadu LSAs.

Further, a certain quantum of spectrum reserved for the Government’s use in 900 MHz at certain locations spread across 6 LSAs namely Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (West) LSAs is also available now for auction. The Authority recommends that DoT should carry out a harmonization exercise in 900 MHz band immediately after conducting the auction and such exercise should be completed within a time frame of not more than 6 months from the date of conclusion of the Auction.

1800 MHz:

In the spectrum auction held in March 2021, a total of 355 MHz (paired) spectrum was put to auction in the 1800 MHz band in all the LSAs. Out of which, 152.2 MHz (paired) spectrum was sold in 21 LSAs. The remaining unsold 202.8 MHz (paired) spectrum in 21 LSAs is available for the forthcoming auction. An additional 10 to 15 MHz of spectrum has become available in the 5 circles of Kolkata, Mumbai, Haryana, Kerala and Odisha which should also be put up for sale.

The Authority recommends that DoT should carry out a harmonization exercise in the 1800 MHz band immediately after conducting the auction and such exercise should be completed within a time frame of not more than 6 months from the date of conclusion of the Auction. The Authority recommends that DoT should examine whether the guard band of 0.2 MHz provisioned in 1800 MHz band in each LSA, can be done away with and wherever feasible, 0.2 MHz may be included in the forthcoming auction.

2100 MHz:

In the spectrum auction held in March 2021, a total of 175 MHz (paired) spectrum was put to auction in the 2100 MHz band in 19 LSAs. Out of which, 15 MHz spectrum was sold in 3 LSAs. The remaining unsold 160 MHz (paired) spectrum in 19 LSAs should be put up for sale in the forthcoming auction, in a block size of 5 MHz.

2300 MHz:

In the spectrum auction held in March 2021, a total of 560 MHz (unpaired) spectrum was put to auction in the 2300 MHz band in all the 22 LSAs. Out of this, 500 MHz (unpaired) spectrum was sold. The remaining unsold 60 MHz (unpaired) spectrum in 6 LSAs should be put up for sale in the forthcoming auction, in a block size of 10 MHz.

2500 MHz:

In the last spectrum auction held in March 2021, a total of 230 MHz (unpaired) spectrum in 12 LSAs was put to auction in the 2500 MHz band. However, no bids were received. Therefore, the entire spectrum, which was put to auction in March 2021, should be put up for sale in the forthcoming auction, in a block size of 10 MHz.

3500 MHz:

The Authority recommends that unlike FDD band plans where the duplex gap is fixed for a given band plan, TDD band plans are flexible; therefore, in the frequency range 3300-3670 MHz, both the band plans i.e., n77 and n78 should be permitted and flexibility be given to the TSPs to adopt any band plan i.e., n77 or n78, based on their business/ commercial considerations. The total available 370 MHz of airwaves should be put up for sale in a block size of 10 MHz.

24.25-28.5 GHz:

The Authority recommends that in the frequency range 24.25-28.5 GHz MHz, flexibility be given to the TSPs to adopt any band plan i.e., n257 or n258, based on the frequencies assigned to them and other business/ commercial considerations. The entire 4250 MHz should be put up for sale in the upcoming auction with a block size of 50 MHz.

Spectrum Caps:

TRAI has suggested that the DoT abolish the overall spectrum holding cap for airwaves held by an operator across all spectrum bands in a circle. Instead, TRAI has suggested separate caps for various groups of frequencies. A 40% cap for sub GHz spectrum in the 600/700/800/900 MHz bands combined, a 40% cap for supra GHz spectrum in the 1800/2100/2300/2500 MHz bands combined, a 40% cap for the mid-band spectrum of 3300-3670 MHz and a 40% cap for the millimetre wave spectrum bands of 24.25-28.5 GHz.

Thank you for reading OnlyTech! For the latest tech news, follow us on Twitter, Google News, Telegram and Facebook. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Avatar of Esmail Beguwala
Esmail Beguwala

Senior Editor

Esmail is passionate about the Telecom spectrum, Broadband data services, and video streaming devices. When not writing an article, you can find him binge-watching shows on OTT apps, while sipping on a cup of coffee.

Comments (2)Forum replies (0)

Loading new replies...

Here is a bird's eye view of TRAI's recommendations on the various spectrum bands to be put up for sale in the upcoming 5G Auction

TRAI’s recommendations on spectrum to be Auctioned this year

Reply Like

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

2 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Visit our forums

Join the discussions with thousands of active members who share the same interests as you and learn something new...