Telecom companies to get E-band spectrum via administrative allocation

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is planning to offer the E-band spectrum to telcos for a nominal fee and thus it won’t be put into the auctions.

E-band spectrum (71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz) is a necessary spectrum for the 5G rollout as it plays a big role in helping telcos with backhaul deployment.

And since the spectrum will only be used for backhaul services by the telecom operators and can’t be used for providing direct access services, DoT has decided not to offer E-band spectrum in the auctions. Instead, telcos will have to pay a nominal fee to the government for the E-band airwaves, according to a Financial Express report.

With the E-band spectrum, 4G/5G mobile towers are connected if there’s not enough fiber to do it. This enables a faster rollout of networks and services. Proposal for E-Band Spectrum Allocation Will be Sent to the Union Cabinet for Approval soon.

Through the spectrum auctions, the operators will anyway get their hands on access spectrum for providing direct commercial services.

Even the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had said that the E-band spectrum should be given to the telcos via administrative allocation and the spectrum auction route should be avoided.

However, the telcos like Reliance Jio think otherwise. Accordingly, Jio has recommended that spectrum auction is the right way to provide the E-band airwaves for backhaul.

On the other hand, other two private operators including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea (Vi) believe that administrative allocation is better.

TRAI is yet to submit the recommendations for 5G spectrum auction. But the telecom minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw has recently confirmed that despite the delay on TRAI’s part, India will go ahead with the spectrum auction as per schedule. The Indian government is eyeing launching 5G services by August 2022.