Spectrum policy for roll out of 5G in India underway
The Dollar Business Bureau
The delay in catching up with the world on 3G and 4G, the Telecom Secretary, J S Deepak says, will not be repeated for 5G. "It has a wider application for the industry including smart cities and management of grids. So we are keen to be with the world," he explained, stating that 5G is going to be important for India's productivity. South Korea is poised to introduce 5G by 2018, the year it is hosting the Winter Olympics.
In order to stay ahead of the curve on the fifth generation data services, the government is keen on formulating a policy for the use of high-frequency spectrum bands before July. "In the next three months, we will come out with a policy on the use of high-frequency of spectrum, including 5G," he said.
Stating that 5G spectrum band may differ from one country to another, he said that the policies on certain areas like machine to machine (M2M) communication are already decided but other parts like international roaming are pending. Giving an example, he said that the fate of a sim inserted in a smart car in India which is then transported abroad is still not clear.
The Telecom Secretary also announced the government's plan to auction additional spectrum in the July-December period this year, which will be followed by a similar auction every year. This will enable telecom firms to plan their investments accordingly.
Comparing Indian telecom industry to a spectrum supermarket, he said that the entire spectrum band that's available would go on sale every year, irrespective of whether or not all of it gets sold.
He also emphasised the need to hike expenditure in infrastructure for the telecom sector. Spending on telecom infrastructure has increased to 9,000 crore this year, from 3,000 crore a year ago. In the next year, it is set to reach 18,000 crore. Such hefty government spending is likely to detract from the burden of investment on the private sector.