In a bold move that could reshape the telecom landscape, Reliance Jio has approached the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) with a request that might just revolutionize the 5G rollout in India.
- E-band Spectrum Expansion: Jio seeks to use the E-band spectrum for both access/mobility and backhaul.
- Technological Blurring: Advancements have blurred distinctions between access and backhaul.
- Anticipated TRAI Paper: Jio’s request comes before an expected consultation paper on airwave allocation.
- High-speed Broadband: E-band can offer rapid broadband in densely populated areas.
- Backhaul Importance: E-band serves as a cost-effective alternative where laying fiber is not feasible.
The telecom giant has set its sights on the E-band spectrum, specifically the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz frequencies. But why is this significant? The E-band spectrum, traditionally used for backhaul purposes, is now being eyed for access or mobility use. This move is spurred by technological advancements that have made the distinction between the two almost indistinguishable.
For the uninitiated, backhaul is the backbone of mobile networks, connecting the core to nodes and then to towers for data transmission. It’s a critical component for the effective operation of 5G mobile broadband. In areas where laying fiber is a challenge, the E-band spectrum emerges as a more cost-effective solution.
Jio’s proposal to the DoT underscores the company’s vision to stay ahead of the curve. By leveraging the E-band spectrum for access services, Jio aims to align with international 3GPP standards. The use of Integrated Access Backhaul (IAB) means that the E-band can be harnessed to provide high-speed broadband in areas where laying the last mile of fiber is both challenging and uneconomical.
While Jio hasn’t directly asked for the auctioning of the E-band spectrum, they have nudged the DoT to inform the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) about its potential for mobile services. This move could pave the way for a broader discussion on the allocation and usage of the E-band and V-band spectrums in the country.
The telecom industry is keenly awaiting TRAI’s consultation paper, which will shed light on the allocation mechanism for these bands. Given their distinct characteristics, the E and V bands might be treated differently, adding another layer of complexity to the discussion.
In conclusion, Jio’s push for a wider application of the E-band spectrum is not just a company-specific strategy. It’s a reflection of the evolving telecom landscape, driven by technological advancements and the relentless pursuit of better connectivity. As 5G becomes more mainstream, such moves will play a pivotal role in determining how swiftly and efficiently the technology is rolled out to the masses.