The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in a white paper released on Friday said although deployment of the 5G network would require substantial investments, the operators which currently have 4G network would need a lesser amount of investment as they can use their existing 4G infrastructure for 5G services.
The white paper named ‘Enabling 5G in India’ said new operators would require large investments.
“Deployment of 5G network will require substantial investment in the core, Radio Network and Spectrum. However, the 5G services will open up many new revenue streams also as it will cater to variety of solutions to new verticals besides enhanced mobile broadband solutions,” it said.
“Operators with existing 4G footprints will be able to leverage their 4G infrastructure for providing 5G services and hence their investment requirement will be relatively less. Whereas a greenfield operator will need to establish the network from ground level and therefore would require huge amount of investments,” TRAI said.
The three incumbent major operators – Jio, Vodafone Idea and Airtel – have their 4G infrastructure and network ready and the investment may not be huge for them.
Referring to an estimate by Nokia, TRAI said that 5G coverage compared to 4G coverage using 1800 MHz (megahertz) spectrum band would be about 60 per cent. Operators with existing 5G footprints will be able to leverage 4G unified license (UL) coverage through the concept of dual connectivity or UL-sharing and hence will be able to cover larger areas with the same number of sites.
A greenfield 5G operator will need to deploy about 66 per cent more sites to compensate for penetration losses.
On the spectrum band for 5G, TRAI said: “Spectrum requirement for 5G network lies around three key frequencies ranges: Sub-1 GHz (gigahertz), 1-6 GHz and above 6 GHz. The choice of spectrum among these ranges will depend on the capacity and coverage requirement of the region.”
“The 3.5 GHz spectrum band is likely to be the first band to be globally used for 5G deployment. The Department of Telecom (DoT) is yet to auction spectrum in the 3300-3600 MHz bands. Therefore, the telecommunications service providers (TSPs) are likely to incur initially an additional investment while launching 5G services on account of spectrum cost,” said the White Paper.