The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper on assignment of spectrum in E and V bands and spectrum for microwave access (MWA) and microwave backbone (MWB). 

TRAI has sought stakeholder comments on various issues raised in the consultation paper. Some of the key issues include:

  • The quantum of spectrum in different MWA and MWB frequency bands required to meet the demand of telecom service providers (TSPs) with access service licence/authorisation and whether MWA/MWB spectrum is also required by TSPs having authorisations other than access service licence, and other entities such as non-TSPs, for noncommercial, captive or isolated use.
  • Whether spectrum for MWA and MWB should be assigned for the entire licensed service area (LSA) on an exclusive basis, or on point-to-point (P2P) link basis
  • Any challenges in ensuring interference-free operation of terrestrial networks (i.e., MWA/MWB P2P links in 6 GHz, 7 GHz, 13 GHz, and 18 GHz bands) and space-based communication networks using the same frequency range in the same geographical area, along with the possible measures to mitigate these challenges 
  • The carrier size for MWA and MWB carriers in the 6/7/13/15/18/21 GHz bands, and whether there is a need to prescribe a different carrier size based on different LSA categories or different user categories such as TSPs with access service licence, TSPs with other than access service licence, and other users such as non-TSPs, for non-commercial/captive/isolated use.
  • The need to assign MWA and MWB carriers in such a way that if a TSP acquires more than one carrier in a band, all assigned carriers are contiguous, and assigned frequency range(s) can be catered through a single equipment
  • The need to review the existing ceiling on the number of MWA carriers that can be held by a licensee
  • The quantum of spectrum in E-band (71-76/81-86 GHz) and V-band (57-64 GHz) required to meet the demand of TSPs with access service licenses and whether spectrum in these bands is also required by TSPs other than access service license, and other entities
  • If the spectrum in E-band and V-band should be assigned exclusively on an LSA-basis, or on P2P link basis
  • If it will be appropriate to continue with the frequency division duplexing (FDD)-based configuration as adopted for the provisional assignment of E-band carriers or time division duplexing (TDD)-based configuration should be adopted
  • If the issues relating to the assignment of E-band and V-band for space-based communication services and its coexistence with terrestrial networks may be taken up at a later date.

TRAI has invited written comments from stakeholders on the issues raised in the consultation paper by  October 25, 2023 and counter-comments by November 8, 2023.