The Broadband India Forum (BIF) has asked the government to allocate the spectrum directly to the enterprises for captive private networks. For the unaware, BIF represents tech companies such as Microsoft, Google, Meta, Cisco, and more. As per BIF, the government must consider the recommendations given by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on private 5G networks.
COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India), which represents the Indian telcos including Vi, Airtel and Jio, said that the 5G business case would not be viable if the government allocated the airwaves directly to the enterprises. The battle between the telcos and the enterprises for private 5G is on.
BIF has rubbished the claims of the telcos and said that direct allocation of airwaves to the enterprises for private 5G will still help the government in boosting its revenues and pose no security concerns.
Enterprises Best Qualified to Set Up Private 5G Networks
According to an ET Telecom report, BIF said that enterprises are the best qualified for setting up private 5G networks in the country and thus should be allocated airwaves directly. But the COAI said that currently, private networks are set up by the telcos only, and there’s no reason why the telcos can’t do it in the future as well. Telcos fear a loss of a major chunk of revenues if they are deprived of setting up private 5G networks for the enterprises.
This makes sense as well because the telcos are primarily counting on incremental revenues by providing enterprise services with 5G networks rather than providing network services to consumers directly. The use-cases demonstrated so far also suggest that 5G is better suited for the enterprises initially as consumer-focused use cases are hardly present.
The major point that BIF is making is that telcos will still get to earn more out of private 5G even if they are not the ones setting it up. Further, the body said that govt revenues would also go up only with enterprises getting 5G airwaves directly. BIF claims that there’s an untapped revenue that will play a major role in boosting revenues for all.
Further, BIF said that telcos are going to optimise their networks for masses and certain specific industry verticals, but not for all, and thus the private 5G networks should be set up by enterprises only.