The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has already suggested airwaves that can be reserved for captive private 5G networks. However, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) wants to identify more airwaves that can be potentially used for private 5G. The Indian government has allowed enterprises to directly purchase the spectrum for setting up private networks. These enterprises can, of course, not provide commercial services to consumers with this spectrum but only use it for captive private networks. DoT is now looking for 5G airwaves that would not be in much demand from telecom operators. Once identified, these spectrum bands can be administratively allocated to the enterprises.
According to an ET report, DoT would ask TRAI to recommend pricing for the administrative allocation. TRAI has recommended reserving 40 MHz blocks in the 3.7-3.8 GHz and 4.8-4.99 GHz bands for captive private networks. In the premium 28.5-29.5 GHz band, 400 MHz has been recommended to be reserved for private networks as well as satellite earth stations.
The mid-band 5G airwaves would likely be in the most demand by enterprises as it solves both the capacity and coverage issues. Airwaves in the mmWave length band would only be required for specific use cases, and select enterprises would only want it. The enterprises in India are excited and happy about the fact that they can directly get airwaves from the government. However, they can still rely upon the telecom operators for setting up their 5G captive private networks.
Much recently, Bharti Airtel and Tech Mahindra partnered to deploy a captive private 5G network in Mahindra's Chakan facility. Going with the telcos would be the faster route for enterprises who want to get private 5G networks, as the government is still working out the details of how the spectrum allocation to businesses. Meanwhile, even Adani Data Networks has secured 5G spectrum in the auctions and will be offering private 5G services to enterprises.