Telecom

India may lose billions if it auctions spectrum in 28 GHz band for 5G: Report

The satellite communications provider Viasat says that India may “lose $184.6 billion in terms of economic value by 2030 if it auctions spectrum in 28 GHz band for 5G services”.

Published:Tue, December 21, 2021 3:16pm

By Sneha Saha

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As per a latest report coming from Economic Times, the satellite communications provider Viasat says that India may "lose $184.6 billion in terms of economic value by 2030 if it auctions spectrum in 28 GHz band for 5G services". The report adds that the country may not be able to benefit from the space economy if "there is no mmwave spectrum available for satcom services".

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Cristian Gomez, Senior Director, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Asia Pacific of Viasat tells ET, "if India makes the mistake of offering 28GHz in full or part to 5G mobile industry which has not been demonstrated any uptake in the mid-band so far then it will lose $184 billion by 2030 and may end up with underutilized spectrum."

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" mmwave is not being used and processed globally. It is hard to understand why India is focusing on it when the rest of the world is going in a different direction we are concerned that India may not be able to benefit from the space economy if there is no spectrum for satcom," Gomez says.

The satellite communications provider predicts that the telecom operators will have "enough spectrum to accommodate the 5G mobile services in a separate spectrum in 26 GHz'". He also says that the operators are seeking 400 MHz per telco in mmwave and 26 GHz offers 3.2 GHz to accommodate all telecom operators.

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Gomes suggests to "avoid costly and complex arrangements in the 28 GHz band. IMT systems are incompatible, particularly considering 28 GHz global use by ubiquitous land, sea and air ESIM."

Viasat highlights that other countries are not prioritizing 5G networks using mmwave or 28GHz. "Even though countries that prioritize mmwave have now shifted their focus they key reason is 5G is expensive to deploy and requires new gear especially in mmwave. You will need millions of new towers deploying a national 5G network using mmwave is not realistic while on the other hand lower frequency needs lesser towers," he explains.

He further says that the European Union region, Australia and China have protected mmwave spectrum for satellite services. Gomes says that "China is the world leader in 5G.. if they decided to give 26 GHz for 5G then it gives a signal. Brazil is moving in this direction after the failed auction."

Viasat says that it is ready to discuss the matter with Indian telecom operators. The company is also preparing to submit its recommendations to the telecom regulator and also approaching the telecom department. "We hope DoT is open to listen and remain neutral on the matter," Gomes says.

"We are open to discussion with telcos. We partner with telcos in other markets. In Australia, Viasat works with Telsra," he adds.

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