The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sought inputs from telcos and other industry experts on the sale and use of radio frequency spectrum over the next 10 years, including the 5G bands.
5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks.
5G mainly works in 3 bands, namely low, mid and high frequency spectrum — all of which have their own uses as well as limitations.
While the low band spectrum has shown great promise in terms of coverage and speed of internet and data exchange, the maximum speed is limited to 100 Mbps (Megabits per second).
The mid-band spectrum, on the other hand, offers higher speeds compared to the low band, but has limitations in terms of coverage area and penetration of signals.
Telcos and companies have indicated that this band may be used by industries and specialised factory units for building captive networks that can be moulded into the needs of that particular industry.
The high-band spectrum offers the highest speed of all the three bands, but has extremely limited coverage and signal penetration strength. Internet speeds in the high-band spectrum of 5G has been tested to be as high as 20 Gbps.
Advantages of 5G technology
The main advantages of the 5G are a greater speed in the transmissions, a lower latency and therefore greater capacity of remote execution, a greater number of connected devices and the possibility of implementing virtual networks (network slicing).
India’s 5G progress
India had planned to start 5G services with an aim to capitalise on the better network speeds and strength that the technology promised.
One big hurdle is the lack of flow of cash and adequate capital with at least two of the three players, namely Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
Reliance Jio plans to launch an indigenously built 5G network for the country as early as the second half of this year.
The company is said to have a complete end-to-end 5G solution prepared by the company itself that is ready for deployment once the networks are in place.
Global 5G rollout
Global telecom companies have started building 5G networks and rolling it out to their customers on a trial basis.
In countries such as China, some of the telcos had started 5G trials as early as 2018, and have since rolled out the commercial services for users.
South Korean giant Samsung has taken the lead when it comes to building the hardware for 5G networks for several companies.