5G: COAI Says Giving Spectrum Directly to Tech Companies is not Fair Play

The telcos are worried about seeing backdoor entries of tech companies into the telecom sector by getting the 5G spectrum from the DoT in an administrative manner. They can offer private 5G services to enterprises and won’t even be subjected to the same level of regulatory compliances and levies as the private telcos are.

Highlights

  • 5G spectrum auctions are just a few days away from here.
  • The bidders are already confirmed, with Adani Group being the surprise entry into the scene.
  • The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has been pretty vocal about the same for very long. COAI is an industry body which represents private telcos.

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5G spectrum auctions are just a few days away from here. The bidders are already confirmed, with Adani Group being the surprise entry into the scene. But there’s still the issue of the spectrum being directly provided to the tech companies in an administrative manner which can result in unfair play for the telcos. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has been pretty vocal about the same for very long. COAI is an industry body which represents private telcos.

“We are happy to note that companies wanting to use 5G spectrum have made applications for open bidding of the spectrum through a transparent auction process, which ensures that level playing field is maintained and all interested parties bid for the spectrum required by them. India’s structured licensing framework has helped orderly growth of India’s digital connectivity landscape; the opening up of access to spectrum to enterprises directly disturbs the level playing field. The spectrum should not be provided on administrative basis as it leads to no business case for the rollout of 5G networks in the country,” said Dr SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI.

Telcos Will have no Incentive to Launch 5G if Tech Companies can Have Backdoor Access into Telecom Sector by Getting Spectrum Directly from DoT

The telcos are worried about seeing backdoor entries of tech companies into the telecom sector by getting the 5G spectrum from the DoT in an administrative manner. They can offer private 5G services to enterprises and won’t even be subjected to the same level of regulatory compliances and levies as the private telcos are.

“If the independent entities set up private captive networks with direct 5G spectrum allotment by DoT, it will diminish the revenue so much that there will be no viable business case left for the TSPs, and there will not remain any need for 5G Networks rollout by TSPs. It is important to understand that licensed access service providers are fully capable of providing these services most competitively and economically compared to private companies.”

“Any consideration of administrative allocation of spectrum for such networks is fundamentally against principles of level playing field and effectively provides a backdoor entry to big technology players to provide 5G services and solutions to enterprises in India without equivalent regulatory compliance and payment of levies that TSPs are subjected to,” Kochhar added.

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