- New spectrum management framework being developed in consultation with ITU
- TRCSL assures new framework would be “pragmatic and transparent”
- Says efficiency in spectrum utilisation would be key focus in deciding new model
By Nishel Fernando
The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) plans to award the initial 5G spectrum band slots to the country’s mobile operators towards the end of this year, under a new spectrum management framework that is currently being developed in consultation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
“We are looking at getting the spectrum management framework in place by the third quarter of this year. My vision is to ensure that at least the initial 5G spectrum sales are moving forward before the end of this year,” TRCSL Director General Oshada Senanayake revealed.
He made these remarks yesterday after taking part in the inaugural 5G trial of Hutch, at its One Galle Face Premier Experience Centre, where the telco operator demonstrated the fastest 5G speed ever achieved by a Sri Lankan telecom operator.
Hutch became the third telco to conduct 5G trials, joining Dialog Axiata and SLT-Mobitel.
Senanayake noted that the TRCSL is in the process of finalising a model for spectrum allocations, which would be pragmatic and transparent.
“We are looking at quite a few options. We haven’t finalised yet. We are taking time to ensure that we have a very pragmatic and transparent model. We don’t want to go back to a litigious environment. We are working in tandem with the operators. As the regulator, we should not be red tape; we should be catalyst,” he added. The TRCSL started technical sessions with the ITU virtually on the proposed framework last week, after an eight-month delay, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although we have recognised the urgency to move forward with the 5G spectrum allocation, we have to ensure that we have a methodological approach. Therefore, we have been working with the ITU. However, they couldn’t visit us, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, we started online sessions last week. We are working with a focus group of the ITU,” he noted. Meanwhile, Senanayake stressed that the efficiency in the utilisation of spectrum would be the key focus of the TRCSL in deciding on the new model.
“5G is not about just extreme download speeds; it’s about enabling the smart city concept and IR4, success of IoT, etc.,” he said. Further, the TRCSL has been taking measures to prepare the infrastructure required for 5G deployment in the country. “Our core network, which is the heart, is already 5G-ready. We don’t need to invest in it again; it’s a matter of expanding it to the next stage,” Senanayake said. Meanwhile, he assured that the telecom sector wouldn’t be pushed back to the previous litigious environment, due to the lack of transparency and framework in spectrum management.
He blamed the previous administrations for failing to take measures to resolve these issues over the past 18 years, which has resulted in a decline in the quality of service (QoS) for the end-consumer. Senanayake noted that the new TRCSL administration of has been working diligently on resolving these matters on a priority basis.
Accordingly, the TRCSL last week published the first QoS matrix for voice in the government gazette and it is expected to publish the QoS for broadband shortly.