The Cellular Operators Association of India’s (COAI) director general SP Kochhar talking about the 5G network slicing said that the use of 5G networks for specific use cases will be in direct contradiction to net neutrality laws in India and added if the network slicing and differentiated experiences are offered on the network. He also further warned about the increased potential threats of the cybersecurity attacks when the 5G networks arrive stating that telecom operators should be prepared.
Problem With Network Slicing
SP Kochhar was speaking at a panel discussion at the 5G India Leadership Summit 2022. He mentioned that the flexibility of 5G networks arises from network slicing and edge computing which is a direct contradiction to the rules of net neutrality. He stated that net neutrality doesn’t allow giving preferred services to a particular segment which is exactly what happens with network slicing and edge computing.
For those unaware, network slicing enables 5G operators to run multiple virtualised and independent networks on a shared physical architecture. This allows for each slice to be dedicated to a specific use case, thus creating different experiences for different people. On the other hand, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) rule says that the network should be neutral to all the information being transmitted through it. All communication passing through a network should be treated equally, independent of its content, application, service, device, sender or recipient address.
In addition to this, the COAI director-general also talked about threats to cybersecurity with the arrival of 5G networks. Kochhar stated that when the 5G network gets rolled out, millions of devices will come online and telecom operators need to be prepared to handle the rise in any kind of cybersecurity issues. He said that cybersecurity has to be organically built into 5G networks and these networks are not ready yet.
Separately at the same summit, the chief regulatory and corporate affairs officer at Vodafone Idea, P Balaji appealed for the 5G spectrum to be made more affordable. He said that the revenue streams and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) will not go up with the current scenario. He also added that the street furniture should be made available rapidly at a very low cost and on a shared basis for the four telcos in the country.