ISRO’s Spectrum Demand Will Make 5G Rollout 5x Expensive In India


ISRO and the Indian Department of Telecom have a spectrum demand to launch mobile services in the 26GHz band, which will likely affect the launch of the 5G network in the country. A discussion at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference to be held next month in Egypt will finalize the use of the 26GHz band for 5G services.

ISRO’s Spectrum Demand Will Make 5G Expensive


ISRO And 5G Bandwidth

ISRO's demand to use the 26GHz band, where the 5G ecosystem is developed mainly for satellite service has been accepted by the Department of Telecom. At the same time, the telecom department has proposed that the 26GHz bandwidth be used for mobile services with conditions to make sure the 5G services won't affect the satellite operations.

The Department of Telecom has submitted the same proposal to the ITU, which sets the benchmark for wireless services worldwide. "The operation of IMT (International Mobile Telecommunications) within the frequency band 24.25-27.5 GHz shall protect the existing and future SRS/EESS earth stations; the operation of IMT within the frequency band 24.25-27.5 GHz shall protect the existing and future FSS earth stations," reads the submitted proposal by the DoT.

Going into the details, the telecom department has proposed a radiation power of 7-decibel watt per 200MHz for base stations to be stationed in the 26GHz band. This is a stark contrast to the industry estimate of 33dbW per 200MHz band.

ISRO Proposal Affects 5G

This proposal will largely affect 5G deployment in the country. The proposed operation will leave roughly around 1.25 to 1.5GHz of the spectrum in 26Ghz of the 5G services overall. For any telecom provider to roll out 5G service, they'll need at least 1GHz of spectrum in higher frequency. The result might be the failure of 5G applications if the bandwidth is not sufficiently provided, a research and development associate of an international mobile gear maker told the ET.


What's more, the proposal by ISRO and DoT states that the base station in the 26GHz band should be tilted. The low-power requirement and the 'tiled' base stations will cover only 25-30 meters distance. If the proposal is accepted by the ITU, it would result in a 5G rollout at 4-5 times more expensive than the rest of the world. We'll know more at the upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 in Egypt.

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