Telecom industry seeks 1200 MHz from 6GHz mid-band

Chennai: The telecom industry has requested the government to provide 1200 MHz from the 6GHz mid-band spectrum.

During the last spectrum auction, the industry could get only 800 MHz of 6 GHz mid-band spectrum. As availability of 6 GHz mid-band spectrum is crucial to expand the 5G networks, the industry has asked for 1200 MHz from the 6GHz range, said Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). According to COAI, A recent report by GSMA says that India can save as much as $10 billion annually in 5G network deployment through the use of 6 GHz spectrum.

With the anticipated spectrum auction for 5G by June end, the industry has also requested the government to address the industry’s long standing issues about spectrum pricing and related revenue concerns. Despite making huge investments for 4G/5G rollout, telecom service providers have one of the lowest average revenue per user (ARPU) rates in the world, COAI said. India’s spectrum costs as a proportion of annual recurring telecom revenues are much higher than key global markets such as China, Germany, UK, Brazil, or even neighbouring Pakistan, according to research firm CLSA.

“In this context, we urge TRAI to revisit the spectrum pricing recommendation, in line with global norms. We also request TRAI to do away with the minimum rollout obligations, giving telecom service providers the freedom to decide the rollout strategy upon acquiring the spectrum,” COAI said.

The telecom service providers also have been requesting the regulatory authorities to implement a fair share data network usage policy, wherein the Large Traffic Generators (LTGs) pay a share of their revenue to the providers, who offer the complete infrastructure for their data requirements. The rapid surge in data over telecom networks has put tremendous pressure on telecom networks.

While the traffic generation of smaller players, startups, and MSMEs is negligible, the LTGs whose services consume large Terabytes of data every day, and the revenue they amass in the form of subscription fee and advertising costs are repatriated to their parent countries. This causes a huge loss, estimated to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore, to the government exchequer, COAI said. This is expected to increase further in the coming years, especially with the emergence of newer AI applications and technologies.

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