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DoT plans to clear some satellite, broadcasting spectrum for 5G and 6G

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) wants to accommodate more spectrum for 5G and 6G usage in the coming years. In that direction, the Department of Telecommunications plans to vacate the spectrum in the mid-band currently used by broadcasting firms in the coming three years and auction it for 5G and 6G Networks.

Vacating mid-band spectrum for 5G and 6G
The mid-band spectrum worth over Rs 1 Lakh crore from broadcasting, satellite users will be shifted from the 3670-4000 MHz band to the 4000-4200 MHz band, according to an ET Telecom report. Currently, Indian Telcos are using the C-Band (3300-3500MHz – n78) for 5G Services. This band is considered a crucial band for delivering 5G services due to the capacity and coverage it offers and the ecosystem developed around it globally.

“Going forward, telcos will require more frequency in mid-band once 5G gets traction and later for 6G. Many countries, including the US, have already allocated spectrum till 4200 MHz for 5G. We will see how much more spectrum can be made available for 5G/6G,” ET quoted an official aware of the matter.

Mid-band ecosystem for 5G
According to GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association), Spectrum in the 3300 MHz to 3800 MHz range is particularly demanding for 5G as many countries worldwide have already designated it for the technology, and the ecosystem is also being developed with speed, including equipment and handsets.

“The existing satellite TV reception users can be accommodated in 4000-4200 MHz band, and the rest of the spectrum in that band can be used for 5G and later for 6G,” ET Quoted another official aware of the details.

C-band transition in US
Earlier in March, SES launched SES-18 and SES-19, the fourth and fifth, and final satellites, as part of SES’s C-Band transition plan to achieve the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) program to clear the C-band spectrum to enable telecom operators efficiently use the spectrum for 5G services in the US.

DoT recently rejected TRAI’s (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) recommendations to reserve 40 MHz of spectrum in the 3700-3800 MHz band for captive private networks, considering the crucial nature of the band and spectrum for 5G services. Moreover, allocating to captive private networks means limiting the ability to use spectrum for an open and broader range of use cases intended for commercial usage.

According to the report, the Wireless Planning Coordination (WPC) wing of the DoT is working on freeing the mid-band spectrum and identifying more bands for International mobile telecommunications (IMT) usage.

mmWave (millimeter wave spectrum)
In India, the 26 GHz millimeter wave band is also used for 5G services, particularly for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services. Bharti Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea, and Adani have acquired 26 GHz spectrum in the 2022 spectrum auction, while spectrum is kept aside for BSNL for its usage. DoT wants the airwaves in the mmWave band to be allocated through auction as the department has decided against reserving any spectrum in the band (28.5 – 29.5 GHz) for private networks or satellite players. Telecom Talk

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