700 Mhz Band A Relook

- P N Chopra

 

The Digital Dividend spectrum that will be freed up by the switchover from analogue to digital TV represents  a ‘once    in a generation’ opportunity for a significant reallocation of spectrum.Digital broadcasting is roughly  six times more efficient than analogue, allowing more channels to be carried across fewer airwaves.

 

 

 

Current usages by Doordarshan: Let us look at the current usage of Spectrum in this band by the National Broadcaster in India  

•-Band-I, Band-III and Band-IV is extensively used for analog terrestrial broadcasting

Digital Terrestrial TV broadcasting is being planned in Band-IV and Band-V and some other future broadcasting applications will also come in Band-IV and Band-V

 

    For mobile TV also, different systems have been developed around 700 MHz band. Mobile TV Transmitters as well as compatible handsets are available for these systems. Doordarshan uses this band for connecting outdoor broadcast vans to their studios. In addition, other users have deployed both fixed and mobile networks in this band. Coordination with or vacating the incumbent users of this band is time consuming.

 

700 MHz band – Indian scenario

India using CDMA as well as Radio Trunking systems;

Hence, use of BWA and 3G/ LTE systems have to be limited to 806 MHz (max);

Many other usages also existing;

Need of BWA & 3G/ LTE systems as well as mobile TV may have to co-exist with some other essential usages;

India using CDMA as well as Radio Trunking systems;

Hence, use of BWA and 3G/ LTE systems have to be limited to 806 MHz (max);

Many other usages also existing;

Needs of BWA & 3G/ LTE systems as well as mobile TV may have to co-exist with some other essential usages;

 

UHF Band assignment in India

*-470 – 960 MHz band is allocated for terrestrial broadcasting and Mobile services on primary basis. The 700 MHz Band spectrum, which is from 698-806 MHz, is part of the terrestrial broadcasting band. Currently, following spectrum in 470 – 960 MHz band is available for terrestrial TV broadcasting in the country

 

UHF Band IV

*There are 14 TV channels available in the UHF Band-IV *470 -582 MHz) with 8 MHz channel bandwidth.

*Doordarshan is operating about 330 transmitters in this band.

*Doordarshan’s three digital TV transmitters at Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai are also operating on an experimental basis in this band.

*Recently Doordarshan has started its Mobile TV service in Delhi (using DVB-H technology) in this band at channel 26 on experimental basis.

 

UHF Band V

*In this frequency band, there are 28 channels available with 8 MHz bandwidth in the sub-band from 582 to 806 MHz.

*Doordarshan has not been assigned any channel in this sub-band for analogue TV transmission.

? However, frequency earmarking has been made in favor of Doordarshan to operate Digital Transmitters in four Metros.

? In UHF band V, Defence and BSNL are operating point to point microwave links in 610 – 806 MHz,

? PPDR has some spots earmarked in 746 – 806 MHz

? The UHF Band V above 806 MHz has been extensively assigned to cellular mobile services etc.

 

Position in USA and Europe

700 Mhz Band Plan in USA

US is the only nation where channeling plan of 700 MHz band has been worked out. The spectrum being vacated due this digital TV transition has been allocated for deployment of IMT applications, Mobile TV and Public Safety services. Under the new band plan, the 700 MHz band is divided into two sub bands i.e. Lower Current usages by Doordarshan: Let us look at the current usage of Spectrum in this band by the National Broadcaster in India  

•-Band-I, Band-III and Band-IV is extensively used for analog terrestrial broadcasting

Digital Terrestrial TV broadcasting is being planned in Band-IV and Band-V and some other future broadcasting applications will also come in Band-IV and Band-V

    For mobile TV also, different systems have been developed around 700 MHz band. Mobile TV Transmitters as well as compatible handsets are available for these systems. Doordarshan uses this band for connecting outdoor broadcast vans to their studios. In addition, other users have deployed both fixed and mobile networks in this band. Coordination with or vacating the incumbent users of this band is time consuming.

 

700 MHz band – Indian scenario

India using CDMA as well as Radio Trunking systems;

Hence, use of BWA and 3G/ LTE systems have to be limited to 806 MHz (max);

Many other usages also existing;

Need of BWA & 3G/ LTE systems as well as mobile TV may have to co-exist with some other essential usages;

India using CDMA as well as Radio Trunking systems;

Hence, use of BWA and 3G/ LTE systems have to be limited to 806 MHz (max);

Many other usages also existing;

Needs of BWA & 3G/ LTE systems as well as mobile TV may have to co-exist with some other essential usages;

 

UHF Band assignment in India

*-470 – 960 MHz band is allocated for terrestrial broadcasting and Mobile services on primary basis. The 700 MHz Band spectrum, which is from 698-806 MHz, is part of the terrestrial broadcasting band. Currently, following spectrum in 470 – 960 MHz band is available for terrestrial TV broadcasting in the country

 

UHF Band IV

*There are 14 TV channels available in the UHF Band-IV *470 -582 MHz) with 8 MHz channel bandwidth.

*Doordarshan is operating about 330 transmitters in this band.

*Doordarshan’s three digital TV transmitters at Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai are also operating on an experimental basis in this band.

*Recently Doordarshan has started its Mobile TV service in Delhi (using DVB-H technology) in this band at channel 26 on experimental basis.

 

UHF Band V

*In this frequency band, there are 28 channels available with 8 MHz bandwidth in the sub-band from 582 to 806 MHz.

*Doordarshan has not been assigned any channel in this sub-band for analogue TV transmission.

? However, frequency earmarking has been made in favor of Doordarshan to operate Digital Transmitters in four Metros.

? In UHF band V, Defence and BSNL are operating point to point microwave links in 610 – 806 MHz,

? PPDR has some spots earmarked in 746 – 806 MHz

? The UHF Band V above 806 MHz has been extensively assigned to cellular mobile services etc.

 

Position in USA and Europe

700 Mhz Band Plan in USA

US is the only nation where channeling plan of 700 MHz band has been worked out. The spectrum being vacated due this digital TV transition has been allocated for deployment of IMT applications, Mobile TV and Public Safety services. Under the new band plan, the 700 MHz band is divided into two sub bands i.e. Lower band – 698-746 MHz and upper band – 746 -806 MHz. Duplex separation of FDD spectrum is kept 30 MHz.

 

Block                      Frequencies                          Bandwidth             Pairing

                        

Lower A                 698-704, 728-734                   12 MHz                  2 x 6 MHz (IMT)        

Lower B                 704-710, 734-740                   12 MHz                  2 x 6 MHz (IMT)        

Lower C                 710-716, 740-746                   12 MHz                  2 x 6  MHz     

Lower D                 716-722                                   6 MHz                    unpaired  (MobileTV)

Lower E                  722-728                                   6 MHz                    unpaired  (Mobile TV)

Upper C                 746-757, 776-787                   22 MHz                  2 x 11 MHz (IMT)

Upper A                 757-758, 787-788                   2 MHz                    2 x 1 MHz (GB)

Upper D                 758-763, 788-793                   10 MHz                  2 x 5 MHz (IMT) 

Upper E                   763-775, 793-805                  24 MHz                  2 x 12 MHz (Public Safety)

Upper B                 775-776, 805-806                   2 MHz                    2 x 1  MHz (GB)

 

*-Verizon spent $9.4 billion in the auction. –22 MHz C Block nationwide, plus another 24 MHz (A and B block) in a few key markets and 12 MHz (A or B) in other markets. –Total 46 MHz in a few key markets such as LA, Chicago, & Miami;–Total 34 MHz in many other markets; –Minimum of 22 MHz nationwide.

*-AT&T spent over $6 billion –233 B Block licenses -  each 12 MHz –Prior to auction, AT&T acquired a large footprint on the Lower C Block, which had been auctioned in 2002 and 2003.

*-Qualcomm spent $558 million to buy licenses in the E and B Blocks.–E Block (Channel 56)  footprint Hampshire to Maryland and from Orange County to Northern California. –Covers over 68 million people and 28 key markets.

*-–Qualcomm won licenses of B Block, near key R & D offices.D Block could not be auctioned as the only bid of $472 million was far below the $1.33 billion reserve price.  The FCC is now considering the rules for re auctioning of the D Block.

*-Dish TV, a spin off from Echostar & one of two satellite TV operators in the US, spent $712 million for the other E Block markets.   

*Smaller players won remaining Lower A and B block markets.

European Digital Dividend band

*-In Europe, Digital Dividend band is 790 – 862 MHz, which is different from the US, India and most of the region 3 countries.

 *Following band plan is being considered at ECC for 790 – 862 MHz band for IMT applications.

–790 – 820 MHz D/L frequency paired with 832 – 862 MHz U/L frequency

–30 + 30 MHz FDD with 42 MHz duplex separation and 820 – 832 MHz (12 MHz) as the centre gap. :

 

COAI VIEWS:?700 MHz (698-806 MHz) band best suited for HSPA/ LTE applications.

? This band especially relevant for India, as majority of future growth expected from rural India.

? Because of its excellent signal propagation characteristics, less infrastructure is required to provide wider coverage

– Communication services can be provided in rural areas at lower cost (savings in capex)

– Will help to bridge the ‘digital divide’ in India

– Provide affordable mobile broadband to help develop a knowledge based economy.

?? In line with the WRC-07 outcomes, COAI had suggested the following band segmentation to be incorporated in the revised NFAP: 

? 585-698 MHz be earmarked for Mobile TV  /        Digital Broadcasting

? 698–806 MHz be earmarked for IMT applications

Thus, there is a need to allocate 100 MHz of digital dividend band to mobile services

 

BAND PLAN FOR 700 MHZ BAND—COAI

? 700 MHz band should be reserved for FDD to improve overall spectral efficiency & allow deployment of LTE by multiple operators.

?? Most efficient solution is a 2 X 50 MHz arrangement (with 8 MHz gap) ?

This plan has several advantages, as listed below:

? will minimize risk of unfavorable fragmentation of the band for mobile broadband usages, thereby reducing complexity of terminals.

? utilizes largest amount of available spectrum hence most spectrally efficient.

? Provides reversed duplex transmission arrangement, i.e., higher frequency band for uplink for better co-existence with adjacent radio communication (broadcast) services.

 

DIGITAL DIVIDEND BAND FOR MOBILE BROADBAND

? Because of its excellent signal propagation characteristics, less infrastructure is required to provide wider coverage

– Communication services can be provided in rural areas at lower cost( savings in capex)

– Will help to bridge the ‘digital divide’ in India

– Provide affordable mobile broadband to help develop a knowledge based economy.

? Other countries vigorously actioning this project, e.g., US has vacated 100 MHz, UK planning to vacate 128MHz

? India can easily make 100 MHz (698-806 MHz) available for mobile industry.

Sufficient spectrum available for broadcasters in lower bands, hence, need of both, the mobile industry & broadcasters would be fulfilled.

India needs to take a lead position in allocating this band to drive economies of scale

 

Way forward

Country must benefit from this ‘Once in a Generation’ opportunity;

All users’ need to cooperate – TV broadcasters, 3G/ BWA operators, mobile TV operators & other users – necessarily must cooperate;

Appropriate Spectrum Allocation Policy and Regulations is also necessary;

Technology neutrality – both FDD & TDD;

    It is necessary to deliberate the current scenario in the 700 MHz band to highlight ways for exploiting this band for future expansion of Radio based broadcasting and telecom services in the country.