NEW DELHI: GSM Association (GSMA), which represents the interests of some 800 carriers globally, has asked the Indian government to focus on fifth-generation (5G) technology in the new National Telecom Policy 2018, and start working around globally identified spectrum bands to leverage the full capabilities of the next-gen technology.
“Widely harmonised mobile spectrum is needed to be identified in the upcoming telecom policy to ensure 5G services meet future expectations and deliver full potential capabilities. It should acknowledge 5G as a centerpiece for wireless connectivity,” Nitin Sapra, GSMA India & South Asia spectrum head, told ET.
The Indian government is banking on high-speed 5G services to accelerate citizen-centric services that could also enable Internet of Things (IoT) and has recently set up a 5G Forum to prepare a roadmap.
The government-led panel, which is expected to hold next round of meeting in February, also includes market leader Bharti Airtel chief executive (India & South Asia) Gopal Vittal and 4G player Reliance Jio Infocomm’s managing director Sanjay Mashruwala.
The government, which expects to ready the new telecom policy by March end, will also set up a development centre to work on 5G technologies in partnership with IIT, Chennai.
“Seven frequency bands are being considered for 5G roll out and that shall be decided at the World Radiocommunication Conference-2019 (WRC-19) with growing interest in the 26GHz band (24.25-27.5 GHz) to deliver ultra-high speed mobile broadband,” Laurent Bodusseau, senior director-spectrum at GSMA, said.
Equipment built for 26GHz band, according to him, can also support 28GHz radiowaves, which would help device costs to come down.
The London-based group also urged the government to include International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)-identified bands and believes that for a large country like India, airwaves in the 600MHz (614-698 MHz) would be important for providing extensive and affordable mobile broadband coverage in rural areas beyond 2020.
Bodusseau also said the upcoming proposed airwaves sale in India is expected to include 3300 MHz band that would be the initial foundation for rolling out commercial 5G services globally.
GSMA wants the government to come up with a spectrum allocation plan so that telcos could align their business and operational strategies for a better outcome.
“India’s sharing of spectrum roadmap for 5G bands in the new national telecom policy would give a clear indication to other countries and would lead to frequencies harmonisation, considering the size of Indian market,” Bodusseau said.
GSMA Intelligence, a research wing of the organization, has predicted that 1.1 billion devices, or one in every eighth connection, would be on 5G by 2025.