Broadband broadband services: telecom operators and tech majors spread across the spectrum band

Broadband broadband services: telecom operators and tech majors spread across the spectrum band

Le Trai had recommended that the E and V bands be opened with “light touch regulation” and that the assignment be done on a “link to link basis”.

Telecommunications operators like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea, have once again clashed with tech players like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook etc., over a band of spectrum that has the potential to provide high speed broadband services, especially in remote areas and for better indoor coverage.

Although the fight dates back a few years, it resurfaced earlier this month when the telecommunications department held meetings with operators and industry associations to plan for issues. related to spectrum management and allocation over the next few years.

The rift between the two parties is whether the spectrum in the relevant band should be withdrawn from the license or should be auctioned as is the case for spectrum for access services.

Telecom operators believe that the spectrum in the affected band should be auctioned as not to do so would result in lost revenue for the government as these bands have a very high commercial value proposition. The telecom operators have conveyed the same to the government through their association, the Cell Operators Association of India (COAI). Opposing their position are tech players who, through their association, Broadband India Forum (BIF), have said that the spectrum should be taken off the license and not auctioned off because it is not not identical to spectrum for access services. Questioning IBOC’s position, the BIF stressed that auctioning spectrum in these bands would run counter to international best practice.

The spectrum concerned is the E and V bands, which are used as backhaul to connect the mobile where fiber is not available.

Sources from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) have so far argued that auctioning is excluded, as is administrative allocation, which means spectrum allocation on a first / first served basis. What is likely on the cards is a light license but a final decision is awaited.

In fact, India’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, which submitted its recommendations to the DoT in August 2014, has also favored a lean licensing approach and not auctioning this spectrum.

Le Trai had recommended that the E and V bands be opened with “light touch regulation” and that the assignment be done on a “link to link basis”. He said the E-band carrier should be billed 10,000 rupees per year per carrier of 250 MHz each and that there should be an initial promotional discount of 50% for three years from the date of award. of the first carrier in that band. If the V-band carriers were loaded, he had said it should be Rs 1,000 per year per carrier of 50 MHz each. He said prices would be reviewed after five years depending on deployment and use.

The argument against auctions is that there is not much the government will get by doing it, unlike access spectrum. The value of a spectrum band depends on various factors, such as the ecosystem, but the most important factor is its propagation characteristics. The lower frequency spectrum is more valuable compared to the higher frequency because the radio waves circulating on the former travel farther, thus requiring fewer base stations, which means less operating costs.

The value of the spectrum of the E and V bands is low because they have very poor propagation characteristics as they are between 71-76 Ghz and 81-86 Ghz (E band) and between 57-64 Ghz (V band). These bands are like fiber and can be used for broadband services but not for direct mobile connectivity.

According to some …

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