With the auction of 5G spectrum, the way for 5G service in India has been cleared. Jio is the only operator in all 22 telecom circles to buy 5G spectrum in the premium 700 MHz band. Considered to be the best for 5G, all operators were eyeing this band. But with this premium 700 MHz band as its name, Jio has taken an early lead in the 5G race.
The 700 MHz band is being used as the dominant band for 5G around the world. Even the US and the European Union have declared it the ‘premium band’ for 5G service. There are many reasons for the popularity of this band around the world.
Rohan Dhamija, a telecom sector watcher, attributes the 700 MHz to its superior indoor and outdoor coverage as the main reason for its popularity. Due to its low frequency band, its signals can penetrate anywhere inside buildings, which means it is excellent in terms of indoor coverage. Hence the 700 MHz band is considered ideal for densely populated areas and areas with heavy data consumption.
Another reason is its long outdoor coverage. A tower in the 700 MHz band can provide coverage up to 10 km. Due to its coverage, the operator has to install less towers, the operating cost comes down. Therefore, despite being expensive, this band is suitable for affordable 5G services.
In a country like India where large numbers still live in villages, the vast coverage of the 700 MHz band can help connect rural India. That is, 5G will not be limited to cities only. Its benefit is sure to reach even in the villages. Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnav had also said the 700 MHz band would help in providing connectivity in remote rural/congested areas.
Third and most important is its proficiency in data traffic handling. This band supports standalone 5G networks. Experts agree that the 700 MHz band is 5 times more efficient than 1800 MHz and twice as efficient as 900 MHz. The 26 GHz high-frequency millimeter band is fast but has very limited coverage. Also, it is cheaper to provide broadband services in 700 MHz as compared to 2100 MHz.