Store spectrum in 5G auctions: Ericsson

NEW DELHI : Indian telecom service providers should buy as much spectrum as possible from the start of the next 5G auction rather than staggering their purchases, said a senior executive at European telecom equipment maker Ericsson. According to him, this will facilitate future deployments and ensure that users adopt 5G services faster.

“I strongly recommend that carriers obtain a portion of all new bands introduced. The more you have, the more opportunities you have in the future to deliver high performance services,” said Magnus Ewerbring, Chief Technology Officer APAC at Ericsson, he said the new 3.6 GHz bands that will enable 5G services will enable very high speeds, which will be attractive enough for existing 4G users to upgrade to 5G.

Ewerbring said consumer activity for 5G has as much potential as the enterprise side, with 4.7 billion connections worldwide expected to be on 5G by 2030, up from 50 million in 2020.

“We project that by 2027, 1.2 billion smartphones for 1.3 billion subscriptions, this is really 4G-5G. 5G penetration in India in 2027 is expected to be 39% and the 4G by 55%, or 94% of (smartphone base) on 4G or 5G,” he said.

Carriers are preparing for the upcoming spectrum auctions where the government will block more than 72,000 MHz of airwaves across seven bands, including the new bands of 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 3.3-3.6 GHz and 26GHz. Consumer demand for 5G is expected to increase once telcos start rolling out the services later this year, starting in metros and major cities.

Ewerbring said existing Ericsson equipment that has been installed by telecom operators since 2015 will be able to relay 5G signals via simple software upgrades, making it an affordable means for telecom operators. to start even if they buy new spectrum which, when used, can support a higher load, or in other words, support a much larger number of customers. “It’s a very favorable way for operators to enter 5G, and then over time they will introduce more and more radio units and the performance will also improve,” Ewerbring noted.

The affordability factor becomes important amid brokerage estimates that peg spectrum purchases by all operators at 71,000 crore, most of which will be new 5G bands including 3.3-3.6 GHz. Each carrier, which will have to pay 31,700 crores for pan-Indian airwaves at base price level is also expected to save money by removing the 3% Spectrum Usage Fee (SUC) floor and waiving the spectrum purchase fee when future auctions.

ICICI Securities analysts said the SUC change will bring annual savings of 2,100 crore for Airtel, 1,000 crores for Vodafone Idea and 2,300 crore for Reliance Jio on Q4FY22 Annualized Adjusted Gross Income (AGR). If telecom operators buy 100 MHz pan-India in 3300 MHz band and 500 MHz pan-India in 26 GHz band, the cheapest band per base price, in the next auction, the annual payment spectrum acquired at the next auction would amount to 1,200 crores for Bharti, 2,400 crores for Vodafone Idea and 100 crores for Reliance Jio.

Ewerbring also supported telecom operators providing 5G captive networks as a service to businesses in the field that over time captive and public networks will be integrated, especially in manufacturing, automation and logistics to provide seamless and secure connectivity.

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About Joan J. Hernandez

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