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Cabinet approves mega 5G auction

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    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    17th Jun, 2022


The Union Cabinet has approved the auction of airwaves capable of offering fifth generation, or 5G, telecom services, including ultra-high-speed Internet, and gave its nod for setting up captive 5G networks by big tech firms.


  • The auction of over 72 GHz of the spectrum will be held by July end.
    • The spectrum auction will start on July 26, 2022.
  • Auctions will be held at reserve prices recommended by the sector regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
    • TRAI had earlier recommended about a 39% reduction in the reserve or floor price for the sale of 5G spectrum for mobile services.
  • The 5G spectrum in nine frequency bands will be auctioned to telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio.
  • Big tech firms for the time being will be allowed to take the 5G spectrum for their captive non-public network, on lease from the telecom companies.

What is 5G technology?

  • Spectrum is an integral and necessary part of the entire 5G eco-system.
  • The upcoming 5G services have the potential to create new age businesses, generate additional revenue for enterprises and provide employment arising from the deployment of innovative use-cases and technologies.
  • 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks.
  • The auction will be held for spectrum in various Low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz), Mid (3300 MHz) and High (26 GHz) frequency bands.
  • It mainly works in 3 bands, namely low, mid and high-frequency spectrum — all of which have their own uses as well as limitations.
    • Low band spectrum
      • It 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).
      • This means that while telcos can use and install it for commercial cell phone users who may not have specific demands for very high-speed internet, the low band spectrum may not be optimal for the specialized needs of the industry.
    • Mid-band spectrum
      • It offers higher speeds compared to the low band but has limitations in terms of coverage area and penetration of signals.
      • Telcos and companies, which have taken the lead on 5G, have indicated that this band may be used by industries and specialized factory units for building captive networks that can be molded into the needs of that particular industry.
    • High-band spectrum
      • It 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 have been tested to be as high as 20 Gbps (gigabits per second), while, in most cases, the maximum internet data speed in 4G has been recorded at 1 Gbps.

India stand in the 5G technology race

  • Like other global players, India had, in 2018, planned to start 5G services as soon as possible, with an aim to capitalise on the better network speeds and strength that the technology promised.
  • India’s private telecom players have been urging the DoT to lay out a clear road map of spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands.

Global progress on 5G

  • More than governments, global telecom companies have started building 5G networks and rolling it out to their customers on a trial basis.
  • In countries like the US, some companies have taken the lead when it comes to rolling out commercial 5G for their users.
  • A South Korean company, which had started researching 5G technology way back in 2011, has, on the other hand, taken the lead when it comes to building the hardware for 5G networks for several companies.

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