Expanding the scope of IP-1 without any licencing is the only way to go in order to attract the desired investments into the sector, according to the Digital Infrastructure Providers Association. Telecom is a very capital-intensive industry, and the roll-out of new technologies like 5G, M2M/IoT, Edge Data Centers, and Wi-Fi will require enormous investments. Research and analyses from various sources also support the idea that infrastructure sharing can save the industry between 40 and 50 percent on costs.
Additional Information Regarding the Expansion of IP-1’s Scope
One extremely important demand of industry has been kept pending regarding the issue of the Enhancement of Scope of IPs-1 as enshrined in National Digital Communications Policy -2018(NDCP-2018). Enhancement of scope for IP-1 registration has been recommended by TRAI also on numerous occasions in the past 5-6 years, including the recommendations dated 13-Mar-2020. As the nation is on the cusp of experiencing 5G technology, it is the right time to review the regulatory environment to make it conducive for active sharing. ‘Global Connectivity Report 2022’ states that “Promoting the sharing of infrastructure can reduce costs. Estimates suggest that sharing antenna sites can save operators up to 40 per cent on both capital expenditure and 5G deployment”. It is, therefore, prudent for the country to latch on to this global best practice by enhancing the scope of IPs-1,” Said Mr T.R. Dua, Director-General of the Digital Infrastructure Providers Association (DIPA) (NDCP-2018).
On numerous instances in the past, including in its recommendations dated 2-Feb-2018, 9-Mar-2018, 20-Jan-2017, 6-Jan-2015, etc., TRAI has emphasised the need for expanding the scope of IP-1. The most recent instance of this was on March 13, 2020, or via the aforementioned recent recommendations. However, it is really regrettable that the issue has not yet been resolved and has not seen the light of day.
“Encourage and facilitate sharing of active infrastructure by enhancing the scope of Infrastructure Providers (IP) and promoting and incentivizing deployment of common sharable, passive as well as active, infrastructure.” In light of this, DIPA reiterates its plea and implores the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to immediately broaden the IP-1 registration's scope by swiftly implementing the TRAI recommendations of March 13, 2020.