The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked telecom operators to provide details of the amount of spectrum required in each circle temporarily to the Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing (WPC).

The move comes as the recent lockdown and near-complete shift to work from home has led to a 15 -20 per cent surge in data traffic on telcos’ networks.

To this end, Rajan S Mathews, director general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said that each telco has been asked by the DoT to submit their demand of additional spectrum circle-wise to the WPC.

As per to COAI estimates, each telco would require about an additional 5MHz to ensure smooth operations of the networks. However, they would require spectrum in the 4G band as the bulk of the demand is coming for data.  Further, Mathews added that the total expected requirement for telecom operators would not exceed 20 MHz.

Meanwhile, the telcos added that they would prefer spectrum to be offered in the 1800 MHz band, which is being used by all players for data. According to their calculations, the defence sector has close to 100 MHz of contiguous spectrum in this band, which is unused and which could be provided to operators for a limited period of time.