The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has written to the telecom secretary stating that the proposal suggested by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to reduce the transmission power of base stations operating in the 26 GHz spectrum band will raise 5G deployment costs.

Spectrum regulators at the International Telecom Union (ITU) are set to finalise the rules around operating 5G networks globally at the ongoing World Radio Communications (WRC)-2019 conference in Egypt.

As per the operators, if the Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) current proposal, backed by ISRO gets accepted at the World Radio Communications (WRC)-2019, it will raise the cost by at least 16 times, making 5G services unaffordable in the country.

Therefore, the COAI has urged the government to scrap the proposal. Further, the industry body has requested the government to take suitable steps to direct the Indian delegation participating at WRC-2019 to support the 26 GHz band for 5G services. As per COAI, India has a whopping 3,250 MHz of airwaves in this premium band, as opposed to merely 175 units in the 3.5 GHz band that the government plans to auction.

While the DoT has earmarked spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band for 5G services, the industry wants it to also auction spectrum in the 26 GHz core 5G band.

However, the Digital Communications Commission is yet to take a call on the auction details.