Following differences over procedure among the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on the experimental 5G airwaves allocation process, the telecom secretary Anshu Prakash has announced to put on hold the recent allocation of 5G trial spectrum to homegrown semiconductor chipset maker Saankhya Labs and IISc Bengaluru.
According to top sources, the allocations have been held in abeyance as Saankhya and IISc apparently did not follow the mandated process of seeking such experimental 5G spectrum.
The two had sought the spectrum via DoT’s Standards, R&D & Innovation (SRI) division in the applications process. As per the mandated process, the applicant must directly apply online to Wireless Planning & Coordination (WPC) wing.
The WPC wing is learned to have raised objections, prompting the telecom secretary to intervene. Minutes of an internal April 29 meeting of DoT’s SRI division show that specific directions were given to WPC’s Regional Licensing Office (RLO) in Chennai, “to issue experimental 5G spectrum licenses to Saankhya Labs and IISc without any further delay by April 30” itself.
The RLO-Chennai was ordered to grant such trial 5G spectrum to both applicants for six months, extendable up to 1 year. Subsequently, Saankhya was granted in-principle experimental 5G airwaves in the premium 700/600 Mhz bands in Bengaluru to run trials for convergence of broadcast and broadband networks, while IISc was offered trial airwaves (in the 3.5 GHz/2300-2400 Mhz bands) for testing in its campus lab.
“As directed by Secretary (Telecom), when Joint Wireless Advisor along with myself was also present, the matter (pertaining to a decision on experimental licenses) is to be kept in abeyance till further orders, and JWA, RLO-Chennai be informed for necessary action,” an internal communication within DoT stated.
Meanwhile, the IISc spokesman claimed that the institute’s application is was under review. “We have obtained a provisional license which was approved and signed by the Deputy Wireless Advisor, WPC …we are awaiting the grant of the final license, which is expected to happen in the coming weeks,” IISc statement said.