Broadcasting at 6 GHz is the brand new battlefront for telecom vs. tech

After preventing over spectrum for captive personal networks, telecoms and know-how corporations at the moment are locked in a brand new dispute over the 6GHz airwaves that provide 5G-like broadband speeds.

Telecom operators Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm and Vodafone Thought need the 6 GHz band to be auctioned, saying it’s helpful for industrial deployment of 5G companies in addition to 5.5G and 6G networks sooner or later. Nevertheless, tech corporations like Amazon, Google, Meta, Qualcomm, TCS, Intel, Cisco and Microsoft, represented by the Broadband India Discussion board (BIF), need the identical band to be licensed or auction-free for WiFi companies. WiFi applied sciences are sometimes supplied on unlicensed spectrum.

At present, the 6 GHz band is partially used for the Indian House Analysis Group’s satellite tv for pc operations. The prize on provide at 6 GHz is large. It might help web speeds of as much as 10 Gbps, just like 5G speeds, or as much as 100 instances sooner web speeds than 4G. In keeping with the telcos, WiFi companies supplied by know-how corporations at 6GHz can be just like communication companies supplied by telcos.

ET On-line

Similar service, identical guidelines
However they may use spectrum that’s just about free and with none regulatory burdens, say license charges and safety compliance, thus altering the precept of “identical service, identical guidelines”.

The BIF, for its half, says that WiFi applied sciences complement 5G in locations the place deploying standard tower and fiber infrastructure is probably not possible or cost-effective.

Tech corporations like Fb have beforehand supplied to entry unlicensed spectrum to supply WiFi companies. They’ve beforehand stated they don’t intend to change into Web service suppliers, however wish to companion with operators.

Already greater than 50 international locations have licensed the group.

“The 6 GHz band is a crucial medium spectrum. International locations such because the US, UK and South Korea have opened up the 6GHz band for unlicensed WiFi use… -band spectrum,” stated Prashant Singhal, TMT lead for rising markets at EY.

“We’d like about 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum to fulfill the necessities by 2030. For India, the 6 GHz band may also help enhance 5G community capability, enhance efficiency and assist in fast 5G deployment,” he stated.

Spectrum economics

Each telcos and tech corporations have lobbied laborious with the Division of Telecommunications, which is engaged on defining band utilization and in addition on the lookout for new frequencies to public sale within the subsequent sale that may very well be used for 5G and future applied sciences. The subsequent public sale is predicted earlier than the top of this fiscal yr.

“In latest spectrum auctions, we noticed mid-band spectrum within the C band fetching Rs 317 crore per MHz. Due to this fact, logically, the monetary implications of all 1200 MHz of the 6 GHz band can be monumental. and will probably be an enormous loss to the exchequer if this group is licensed,” Cellular Operators Affiliation of India CEO SP advised ET. Kochhar.

He stated the obtainable mid-band spectrum within the 6 GHz (5,925-7,125 MHz) i.e. 1200 MHz spectrum has large potential for industrial success in worldwide cell telecommunications and 5G and 6G deployment. A back-of-the-envelope calculation exhibits that if your complete 1,200 MHz of 6 GHz spectrum have been priced at par with the typical C-band spectrum auctioned final yr, it could value round Rs 3.8 lakh crore.

Tech Take:

Tech corporations deny telecom corporations’ claims that WiFi companies compete with cell companies and say they’re complementary.

In a press release, BIF stated it lately signed an settlement with the Wi-fi Broadband Alliance (WBA) to broaden the next-generation wi-fi ecosystem. It additional stated that India must urgently open up the 6 GHz band for WiFi to fulfill its broadband targets in addition to meet the rising alternatives of enterprise and societal wants.

The WBA is a world alliance whose board members embody AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, Intel, TMobile, Broadcom, BT and Viasat, amongst others.

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