Wi-Fi services can generate an economic value of Rs 12.7 lakh crore by 2025 if higher frequency spectrum can be delicensed, a report by Broadband India Forum (BIF) has projected.
According to the BIF report released on Monday, the average economic value of key applications for Wi-Fi in 2020 in existing unlicensed bands (the spectrum frequencies for which users are not charged) is estimated to be around Rs 1.33 lakh crore.
Globally, Wi-Fi is being offered through delicensed 6 GHz and 60 GHz bands in several countries, ensuring large benefits to both the people, and the economies. Delicensing these bands in India would greatly augment our broadband quality and speeds, boost the government’s PM WANI Public Wi-Fi program, and also contribute significantly to other critical segments,” BIF President TV Ramachandran said.
India presently has around 689 MHz of spectrum available for unlicensed use across various bands.
The author of the report and senior visiting professor at ICRIER Rekha Jain said that the amount of delicensed spectrum available in India is very less.
“There appears to be a fair degree of policy reluctance towards making more Unlicensed Spectrum available here. The perception seems limited to the view that unlicensed spectrum does not provide direct revenues to the government, such as through license fee, auction, etc. But unlicensed bands have huge economic value,” Jain said.
She said that Wi-Fi is going to be a dominant technology which will contribute to the economy and its usage in higher frequency bands can also help the government in achieving targets for rural broadband projects particularly Bharatnet.
According to the report, delicensing of higher spectrum frequencies in the V-band can contribute nearly 11 per cent of the total economic value in 2025.
The V band is bone of contention between telecom operators and internet companies. Telecom operators have been demanding to allocate E and V band through auction while it is allocated for free in advanced countries.
According to the report, development of short range devices in V-band can contribute an economic value of Rs 39,897 crore by 2025.
“GDP contributions due to increase in IoT penetration would amount to Rs 17,609 crore in 2025, while that from the device ecosystem would be Rs 18,602 crores,” the report said.
Jain said that telecom service providers will benefit the most from delicensing of spectrum.