The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology recently opened an auction for the use of the 2.3 Ghz frequency band in the 2,360 – 2,390 Mhz range. These frequencies can be used to encourage the adoption of 5G networks by mobile operators. The government is actually preparing the middle band 2.6 Ghz – 3.5 Ghz frequency band as the ideal place to deploy 5G. However, telecommunications observer Ian Yoseph, said the 2.3 Ghz frequency band is still considered feasible to deploy the fifth generation network.
“The frequency bandwidth is suitable for 5G,” he said via short message, Thursday (26/11/2020). The 3.5 Ghz frequency has a 200 Mhz band width, while 2.6 GHz with a 180 Mhz bandwidth. Meanwhile, the 2.3 Ghz frequency itself has a 90 Mhz band width. A similar statement was made by Muhammad Ridwan Effendi from Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB).
If All Operator Agreed 5G Could Be Used
He said, the use of the 2.3 Ghz frequency for 5G could be used if the operator agreed to do spectrum sharing. “Ideally 90 Mhz is used by one operator. It can also be used together (sharing) if all operators agree,” Ridwan explained. In line with Ian, Ridwan also said that the ideal spectrum to be used together is 3.6 Ghz or 2.6 Ghz. Currently, both are used for satellite connections used for digital television and banking, such as Indovision and BRI.
Telkomsel & Smartfren Occupied 30 Mhz
The 2.3 Ghz frequency is currently occupied by Telkomsel with a band width of 30 Mhz, Smartfren with a bandwidth of 30 Mhz, and PT Berca Hardayaperkasa which is spread across seven zones. Then the rest will be auctioned off by the government.
“The auction winner must go through a B2B process with Berca to get a contiguous 30 Mhz spectrum and a national coverage of 2,360-2,390 Mhz,” he added.
The government has prepared three spectrum layers, namely the upper band at 26 GHz, middle band at the 2.6 and 3.5 GHz frequencies, and the lower band at 700 MHz and 800 Mhz.
Government Preparing 5g Roadmap
The government itself has prepared a 5G roadmap in Indonesia. However, it is not certain when Indonesia will be able to implement the 5G network commercially. It is also not known what will happen to the 4G network if the 5G network has been implemented. According to Ridwan, it is possible that the 4G network will still exist. “Maybe 3G will be replaced. So later there will be 2G, 4G, and 5G,” he added.
Ridwan explained that the 2G network based on circuit switching can still be used to serve voice calls and SMS. Meanwhile, 3G networks based on packet switching (IP) have the slowest speed compared to other networks based on the same. If 2G network users decreasing, which are generally used by legacy device users, this network will also be closed. The 4G network itself will still be needed as a bridge to migrate to 5G.
Ian estimates that the move from the 4G network to the 5G network is likely to be done in stages. This is also supported by 5G devices which are predicted to be cheaper in the future.