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5G Technology Spectrum Allocation Process in India


Introduction: 5G Technology

The term 5G means the fifth generation, this is the latest iteration of Cellular technology which requires small size towers and easy transmission of signals are possible. It is an iteration of the previously existing technology with better engineering to increase greatly the speed of signal transmission, and high responsiveness of the networks. The speed of data transmission in a 5G-Broadband connection goes up to multi gigabits, with its highest speed that might trigger up to 20 gigabits per second (20Gbps). This speed exceeds the wired network speed and has a latency lesser than 5 milliseconds (ms). The 5G technology is having high bandwidth and advanced technology. 

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The Government has made so many developments to enhance 5G availability throughout every corner of India with the help of the Department of Telecommunication and the Cellular Operators Association of India.

As per the data released in December 2021, India has around 1200 million subscribers with the second largest telecommunication market in the World. As per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, India is having biggest Consumer of Data in the world.

What Are The Laws Related To 5G Technology?

5G internet technology is governed by the Central Legislation with the governing laws such as:

  • The Indian Telegraph Act (Telegraph Act), 1885
  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (TRAI Act)
  • National Telecom Policy, 2018
  • The wireless Telegraphy Act (WT Act),
  • Information Technology Act, 2000(IT Act) 

Along with the Ministry of Home affairs the following ministries and regulators function to regulate the telecom and Media sector:

  • Department of Telecommunication (DoT)
  • Telecom Regulatory authority of India (TRAI)
  • Ministry of Communications
  • Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB)

When we look at the technology 5G sector, the Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) sets standards and specifications to regulate the technical sector. Its functions are:

  • Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC) sets specifications and Sanctions common standards relating to telecom services, operability, equipment, etc
  • Helps DoT, TRAI, TDSAT, and Dot in the technical aspect of it.
  • Provides approvals, service approvals, type approvals, Certificates of approvals

What Is 5G Networking? How Does It Work?

The networks are composed of different sectors of cell sites through which data transmits with the help of radio waves. The 5G network is based on the foundation of 4G networking. However, the 5G network uses small cells to send an mm-wave (millimeter wave) spectrum, band Spectrum ranges between 30 to 300 GHz through which 5G high speed generates and covers a very short distance with high effect from the physical obstacles, weather, etc.

What Is The Difference Between 4G And 5G Technology?

The 4G technology requires high-power large towers to effectively signal operation over long distances, however, 5G technology includes a large number of small size towers station which can be installed at places like roofs of buildings, and light poles through which easy transmission of the signal is possible. 

The 4G network is equipped with a network of the lower frequency band, which covers a large distance, has low capacity, and has a lower speed. However, the 5G network uses low frequency and covers a small distance with a high traffic capacity (up to 100x) and efficiency. 

What Are The Benefits Of 5G Technology?

  • All possibilities are open with the 5G’s high speed and ultra-low latency.
  • It can help to reach places that were impossible till now and risky for humans, for example, Mines, Himalayas or Deserts, Borders, etc.
  • Easy to drive robotics 
  • The AR/VR/AI will be easy to operate.
  • Seamless Airport operation.
  • Higher capacity in comparison to 4G, allows the wireless operation of lots of services. 
  • Higher bandwidth operation makes possible the faster transmission of data. 
  • Innovative technologies like drones and devices which operate through sensors make operate with ease.
  • Ease operation of the tech industry.

5G Spectrum Licensing

In February 2022 DoT sought the recommendation of TRAI for the launch of the auction for 5G spectrum services in India. TRAI gave its recommendation in April 2022 TRAI has given its recommendation for the launch of the auction for the 5G spectrum in India. Subsequently, a notice was issued for the first time for inviting applications for the auction of 5G Spectrum on June 15th, 2022. The persons/Enterprises willing to deploy 5G networks need to have a minimum net worth of the Company of Rs. 100 Crore.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) guided IMT-2020 is the standard followed in India for the operation of the 5G networks, services, and devices.

WPC Power and Role

  • First of all, you need to coordinate with WPC, If you don't know about WPC, WPC (The Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing) was created in 1952, and governed by the Ministry of Communications for the Services of India for the National Radio Regulatory Authority (NRRA).
  • The entities seeking Spectrum allocation have to first obtain a SACFA Clearance certificate for the operation of broadcasting (OTT, TV), radio, etc. Even the successful bidder who is willing to deploy additional technologies has to ask permission from DoT, where Service providers have to show SACFA clearance to seek permission to deploy additional technology. 
  • Spectrum allocation: The WPC allocates a band of frequency to a Radio Communication Service, the process is known as Spectrum allocation. It is a natural resource.

Spectrum Allocation Process

  • Firstly, the offering of Spectrum in the auction takes place.
  1. A circle-wise list is circulated with a base price, available frequency bands, and quantum of Spectrum at a specific circle.
  2. The National frequency plan to offers band such as 600 Mhz-3300 Mhz and 26 Ghz bands which supports 5G services.
  • The applicant needs to have the Unified license with Access Services authorization for the circle in which you have to propose for bidding.
  • On the basis of the Unified License, the applicant shall be given permission for Spectrum bidding.
  • At present, In India, there are more than forty communication services, and all of these services operate at a certain frequency, to access at a frequency they require permission from the WPC.
  • It is operated according to the National Frequency Action Plan, 2018 which was formulated by the Department of Telecommunication.
  • According to this plan the different services such as Television Broadcasting, Cellular services, Wi-Fi, etc., are granted a frequency band at which they can operate their services in India.
  • The allocation of Spectrum occurs through an auction process in SMRA format (through this format the Proposed Service Provider bids on multiple lots, all lots offered simultaneously, and also closed together corresponding to the right to use a specific frequency band at a specific location)
  • The SMRA auction process occurs in different rounds, and in each round results are made public.
  • Each round gives chance to bidders to adjust their strategies.
  • In the end, at a certain point bidder closes their activity of bidding that point comes as a closing round of the auction.
  • After the 2G scam, the Spectrum allocation Process and Licensing process got separated.

Who are the Authorized Person For the Unified Licensing

  • The SARAL SANCHAR portal simplifies the process of filing applications and issuance of telecom licenses, for the granting of the licenses and registrations for Unified licenses, the Infrastructure service Provider has to go through the online portal only.
  • The Unified licensing services are available to the entity that is incorporated in India. As per the present FDI regime, FDI is accepted in the telecom sector up to 100% through the automatic route.
  • The applicant must be a Company Registered under Company law in India.
  • The License authorization and Spectrum allocation are different things, separate forms are required to fill for obtaining the Spectrum and license.

Documents Required For 5G Spectrum Licensing

  • Copy of Certificate of Incorporation (CoI), Article of Association (AoA), Memorandum of Association (MoA)
  • One-time nonrefundable fee.
  • Board of Directors (resolution of power of attorney);
  • Details of Employees, and shareholders in the Company;
  • Earnest Money Deposit (in the form of a Bank Guarantee);
  • A non-refundable application fee of Rs. 100,000/- through demand draft
  • Detailed equity certificate;
  • Approval copy of FDI investment from the Government of India;
  • Board resolution for the appointment of auditor along with the signing of CA.
  • Registered office address.

Authorizations Required For the Operation of the 5G Telecom Services in India:

The department of Telecommunication has introduced Unified Licensing (UL) in 2013 for granting multiple licenses through a single system with the notion of a One Nation-One License. Through Unified licensing the Service Provider can get the following authorizations namely:

  • National Long distancing Services (NLDS)
  • International Long Distancing Services (ILDS)
  • Access Services (Area-wise Service)
  • Unified License (All Services)
  • Public Mobile Radio Trunking Services (PMRTS) services
  • Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite Service.
  • Resale of International Private Leased Circuit Service.
  • INSAT Mobile Satellite System- Reporting Service.

Fees Required for Spectrum Allocation

The application fee of 1 lakhs at the time of filing of the application, the one-time nonrefundable fee shall be payable for the grant of Unified Licensing before the grant of Licensing Agreement, the total amount may extend up to fifteen crores, along with, Virtual Network Operators (VNO) which comes under Category B licensing, for which the required fee shall be at the rate of 8% of AGR, and financial bank guarantee of Rs. 3.5 lakhs with validity for a period of one year and shall be renewed one month before the expiry of the Validity from the DoT.

The bidders have to pay during the registration an EMD amount which is the Earnest Money Deposit taken by the DoT while submitting the application which is refundable to the unsuccessful bidder and extends to 2 to 5 percent of the actual estimated value of the project, it is deposited to ensure that only the serious bidder participates in the bidding process so that if bidder after the allotment of Bid refuses to contract, the EMD amount shall be forfeited.

Additionally, the Spectrum Usage Charge shall be applicable as per the percentage of revenue generated through the wireless services. It depends upon the licensed band spectrum. It goes up to 5 % of the AGR as Spectrum usage charge to the DoT. 


Penalties are applicable to the Service Provider who does not comply with the Telecom laws, as per Section 20 of the Telegraph Act, 1885, if an individual establishes, operates a business, maintains, or works for a telecommunication network without proper permission from the concerned Government department shall be punished with the imprisonment which may extend up to 3 years, a fine or both.

However, if the licensee breaches any of the provisions of the telecom law shall be punished with a fine which may extend up to Rs. 1000, and Rs. 500 per day during the period the breach continues.

As per the new provisions, for the violation of Licensor Agreements, the Terms and Conditions of the DoT granted Unified License, by the Licensee, shall be punished as per the category of violation, which may extend to up to 50 lakhs. Additionally, the Licensor has the power to terminate the license agreement. 


The 5G networking in India might take time to deploy all over India. This does not mean that the 4G operation will be stopped, it will go as is at present. The 6G will come with a foundation of new technology which unlocks the capacity of every sector of 21st Century technology such as AI, NoT (Net of things), Metaverse, blockchain, Robotics, etc. Again, it is going to bring revolution in the way we use cell phones, technology, applications, business, Industry, and the startup sector including the tech-equipped other sectors.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.


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