The telecom firms have started talks with the government over harmonisation of the 5G spectrum to reduce interference in the bands purchased by them in the auctions, a top executive with one of the operators told the business daily.
“This is the standard operating procedure after the conclusion of an auction. The discussions are happening on all spectrum bands,” the executive told Hindu BusinessLine.
The spectrum harmonisation process, critical for 5G services, brings together a bunch of radio wave holdings within a band into one contiguous block with the consensus of all telecom service providers. The harmonisation of the spectrum leads to greater efficiencies for players, as chunks of radio-wave holdings in one band are brought together or consolidated with the consensus of all players, PTI reported earlier.
The 5G auctions concluded on August 1, and Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said that the government would allocate radiowaves bought in the auction by August 12 and the first installment of payments by telcos will be due on August 17.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea will encounter major interference issues in their 5G spectrum bands and these issues will not be resolved by discussions with the government, an expert told BusinessLine.
Speaking to BusinessLine, the expert added that Bharti Airtel is encountering interference issues in the 3.5GHz spectrum band due to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System installation in six locations, in which case the harmonisation is out of question. He added that 3.5GHz is not free to use in some circles for both Bharti and Vi.
“In six cities, along with its surrounding geographies- Jio has punched a hole right in the middle of Bharti’s 3.5GHz spectrum, by compelling them to buy spectrum that has navigation interference,” the expert told BusinessLine.
These six cities are Hassan in Karnataka, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, Shillong in North East, Jodhpur in Rajasthan, and Port Blair in West Bengal.
Vi and Airtel are also encountering interference issues around international borders. An interference issue for telecom operators means they will not be able to boast a seamless 5G network pan-India.
Airtel and Vi could potentially deliberate spectrum sharing agreements in the band in a bid to ensure they both get a large quantity of contiguous spectrum, said experts, BusinessLine reported.