DoT allocates spectrum for 5G trials
The Union government has begun the process of conducting 5G trials in the country by allotting airwaves to telecom service providers. It is learnt that the Department of Telecom (DoT) has allocated spectrum to telecom operators to start 5G trials at locations including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The operators have been allocated spectrum in the 700 MHz, 3.3-3.6 GHz, and 24.25-28.5 GHz bands in various locations.
- It is learnt that the telcos have been allocated 100 units in the 3.5 GHz band, 800 units in the 26 MHz millimetre wave, and 10 units in the premium 700 MHz band.
- According to sources, the telecom service providers can use their existing 4G spectrum for trials in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands.
- The six-month period for conducting trials starts on the date of allotting the spectrum, i.e. 27 May 2021.
- On 4 May 2021, the DoT had approved applications from Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea, and MTNL for conducting 5G trials without using technologies from Chinese firms.
- During the trials, the application of 5G in Indian settings will get tested. This includes tele-medicine, tele-education, and drone-based agriculture monitoring.
- Telecom operators will be able to test various 5G devices on their network. The duration of the trials, at present, is six months. This includes two months for procuring and setting up the equipment.
- Devices such as cellphones and wireline telephones require signals to connect from one end to another.
- These signals are carried on airwaves, which must be sent at designated frequencies to avoid any kind of interference.
- The Union government owns all the publicly available assets within the geographical boundaries of the country, which also include airwaves.
- With the expansion in the number of cellphone, wireline telephone and internet users, the need to provide more space for the signals arises from time to time.
- To sell these assets to companies willing to set up the required infrastructure to transport these waves from one end to another, the central government through the DoT auctions these airwaves from time to time.
- These airwaves are called spectrum, which is subdivided into bands which have varying frequencies.
- All these airwaves are sold for a certain period of time after which their validity lapses, which is generally set at 20 years.