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Doordarshan & Indian Telcom Lock Horns Over Niche 5G Spectrum Band

5g News - Published on Wed, 14 Aug 2019

Image Source: LiveMint
India’s telecom operators and Doordarshan have locked horns over a premium band of spectrum that the public broadcaster wants to retain for telecasting directly to phones, but the telcos feel can be put to better use in 5G telecommunications. India, which has already marked out the 3.3-3.6 GHz band for 5G services, is trying to identify more spectrum bands for the same, and has zeroed in on the 470-698 MHz band. However, the state broadcaster currently beams television channels to smartphones and laptops over this spectrum in 16 cities with its Digital Terrestrial TV transmitters. The DTT service was started in 2016 and Doordarshan is keen on expanding it to 630 locations.

At the same time, telcos covet lower frequency bands such as this, since these airwaves travel larger distances and save on the cost of towers and other infrastructure.

The Department of Telecommunications has now asked the Cellular Operators Association of India to submit its views on the suggested use and pricing of these airwaves, which have not been used for mobile communications so far. This follows a 4 July meeting of DoT’s 5G Implementation Oversight Committee, which was also attended by officials from DoT and academics. Mint has seen a copy of the minutes of the meeting. Auctions for 5G spectrum are expected to be held later this year.

COAI director general Rajan Mathews said that “These bands can be used for 5G. It is being used for broadcasting (Doordarshan) but now everyone is going digital. There is opportunity to take these (airwaves) back as other countries are doing...As broadcasting goes digital, more and more spectrum will become available and globally, people are saying that use it for the next big demand factor, which is mobility.”

COAI has now started compiling a paper on how these bands are being utilized globally and their pricing. The industry body will submit these findings to the telecom regulator.

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Posted By : TelecomGuru on Wed, 14 Aug 2019
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