Digital Dividend: A solution to India’s Mobile Broadband needs
Last month Indian Telecom subscribers crossed 500 million. There are enough and more studies on the impact of telecom penetration on the economy. One study correlates 10% increase in tele-density to .6% increase in GDP. The canvas is $520 billion increase in GDP over 8 years time frame.
The need is for a communications model that reaches out to the remotest citizen and low cost wireless solutions. The existing industry spectrums: 850MHz/ 900 MHz/1800 MHz are grossly inadequate for the traffic. The 3G option is being looked at as a solution providing greater bandwidth for voice and data traffic. Given the high 3G auction fees, the 3G option ensures service qualities at a high CAPEX and OPEX. High speed telecom networks would be the key for a long term momentum in the economy as suggested by McKinsey,2009.
- 3G investment in India will deliver over $70 billion economic benefit
- India would have gained over $16 billion (PPP) in the last 2 years but for delay in introduction of high speed mobile BB.
- 10% increase in broadband penetration can deliver up to 1.4% increase in GDP
The spectrum: How it pans out and how the digital dividend is a part of it?
Digital compression technologies and coding systems make it possible to squeeze much more information into a radio signal than in the case of analogue technology. Digital TV is many times more spectrally efficient than analogue TV, which means UHF spectrum will be freed up. Large amount of spectrum that would be freed up in case of switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial TV is known as the Digital Dividend.
Refer to the slideshare presentation for a full description on the Digital Dividend:
The analogue TV switch-off represents a “once in a generation” opportunity for a significant reallocation of spectrum. This spectrum has excellent propagation characteristics and can be used very effectively to roll out mobile broadband services in rural areas and to provide in-building coverage. It is approximately 70% cheaper to provide mobile broadband coverage in the 698-806MHz band than at 2100MHz. This means networks can be rolled out quickly and cost-effectively, bringing cheaper services to consumers.
It is approximately 70% cheaper to provide mobile broadband coverage at frequencies (approx. 800MHz) than over 2100MHz.This means networks can be rolled out quickly, cost effectively, bringing cheaper services to consumers.
As a technology the advantages of Digital Dividend over contemporary spectrum allocation are as follows:
- Better propagation characteristics.
- Ideal for providing wireless service in low population density regions, such as rural India
- Target resource for rural broadband wireless access worldwide.
- Less Infrastructure – Reduced costs
- Reduce capital expenditure, which makes deployment in rural or high-cost regions economically viable.
- An LTE network at 700 MHz would be 70% cheaper to deploy than an LTE network at 2.1 GHz – GSMA.
- Two to three times as many less sites required for initial coverage at 700 MHz compared to 2.1 or 2.5 GHz
Spectrum: Cost versus Coverage
Spectrum Infrastructure: 700 MHz versus Others!