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COAI: Telcos don’t need additional spectrum, can deal with bandwidth surge already

The Cellular Operators Association of India said in a statement that it doesn’t need additional spectrum to deal with added strain on mobile networks. In a statement, COAI Director-General Rajan Mathews said:

Over the past few days, the industry, in concert with actions coordinated with the DoT, has seen a flattening of traffic demand on member’s networks. Some of these actions relate to streaming services reducing their content from HD to SD, local municipalities working with Operators to bring sealed towers back on line, some redistribution of traffic on the network, among other things. As a result, Operators believe there is no present need to request for any additional spectrum. Based on the present condition of Member networks, we believe there is no such present need and Operators remain confident the steps they have taken presently can maintain the relatability and quality of their networks and services.

This is consistent with our observation this week that internet traffic in India has mostly settled down after a surge in the days following the Janata Curfew and state-led lockdowns. Since the time that article was published, the stability has generally continued, with no steep surges in traffic across Extreme Internet Exchange and Mumbai Internet Exchange, both of whom represent a decent portion of internet traffic in India.

A week ago, streaming services in India decided to reduce the data their customers used in response to COAI’s demand (read the COAI’s letter to the streaming industry), mostly by reducing the quality of video on streams. It’s unclear how much this helped in managing the surge in traffic; MediaNama has asked COAI if they still need these services to use less data than usual. We will update this article if and when the association responds.

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