If the Centre finalises allotment of the E&V spectrum as suggested by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in 2014, it could pave the way for reducing 50 per cent of the congestion on licensed towers.
Department of telecommunications (DoT) is divided on the allocation of these two spectrum bands.
“There are some officials who feel that the E&V spectrum should be allotted at an administered price. But others fear that if these bands are not put under auction, the central government will come under the auditor’s scrutiny,” an official, requesting anonymity, told Business Standard.
Another official said that DoT would soon finalise the course of action for the E&V spectrum bands, which may reduce nearly half of the congestion on telecom towers.
In August 2014, Trai recommended that in order to increase broadband penetration in India, the usage of high-capacity backhaul E-band (71-76 / 81-86 GHz) and V-band (57-64MHz) may be explored for allocation to the telecom service providers.
The government has a plan to work on establishing 100 new smart cities.
These cities would use smart technologies with state-of–the–art infrastructure. Typically, in a smart city, sensors will provide real-time inputs to a control centre on clean water, energy, public transport, safety, education, and health care. Intelligent communication tools will let administrators manage and respond to emergencies quickly and provide residents with constant real-time inputs. There will be supporting machine-to-machine (M2M) and machine-to-machine-to-human (M2M2H) communications in the smart cities with high internet access across wireline and wireless networks.
This will also increase the requirement of high speed internet access.
To cater to this high speed in the access network, there will be continuous need to raise backhaul transmission capacity, both in the form of more links for new radio sites and additional capacity to support high bandwidth services on the radio sites, TRAI had said.
Worldwide telecom service providers are looking for an alternative, high capacity backhaul solution. One such solution is to deploy backhaul network in V-band and E-band. The use of these bands is growing even in fibre rich countries like Japan and Korea. LTE (long-term evolution) networks and high speed Wi-Fi standards have increased the use of E-band and V-band.
A connected issue is about licensing or regulation of these bands. These bands can either be fully regulated/licensed or lightly regulated/licensed.
Both E-band and V-band should be opened with ‘light-touch regulation’ and allotment should be on a ‘link-to-link basis’. This means that the responsibility for registration and database management should lie with the WPC (wireless planning and coordination) wing of DoT.
If the spectrum in V-band is delicensed, it would be beneficial for achieving the government’s digital India initiative, some experts feel.
Mobile operators are of the view that the backhaul spectrum should be allocated by having reservations over the delicensing of the V-band.
“The industry is in favour of allotment of backhaul spectrum but airwaves in the V-band should not be delicensed as suggested by TRAI. This is because the industry suspects that the same would be used for commercial purposes. If that happens, then it (V-band) should only be auctioned,” Cellular Operators Association of India director general Rajan Mathews said.