The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to provide recommendations for the auction of the E-band and V-band spectrum, which is utilised for backhaul purposes.
It has sent TRAI a reference in this regard a few days ago. This is a major decision, given that the backhaul spectrum, so far, has been administratively assigned to telecom operators.
With the auction of the backhaul spectrum, certain operators will not only have to procure future backhaul spectrum through auctions but will also have to re-acquire the spectrum that they had been provisionally assigned, through the auction, according to a BusinessLine report.
Backhaul spectrum allows telcos to send data back from users and access cell towers to aggregators, essentially consolidating the network. There are various means of backhaul including optic fibre, satellites and wireless backhaul through the spectrum. With poor fiberisation of telecom towers, telcos are heavily reliant on the spectrum for backhaul purposes.
With the 5G rollout, data requirements of users and enterprises will increase exponentially and the demand for backhaul spectrum from operators will also increase.
“Telcos will make 100x more in revenue than what they will have to spend to procure this spectrum through auction. Telcos will also save money in comparison to what they spent while acquiring spectrum through administrative assignments. This will also save the government from the administrative hassles in allotment of spectrum,” a senior official at DoT told BusinessLine.
Mobile tower companies are likely to invest over Rs 2 trillion by 2025. Almost half of this will be in the next two years, to help meet the telecom firms’ target to take 5G to 50 per cent of India. According to data provided by the Digital Infrastructure Providers’ Association (DIPA), the apex body of the tower companies.