With 5G, the role of private networks is going to grow multiple folds. Many organisations and multinational companies (MNCs) would want to go for a private 5G network to keep data and communication internal and more secure. But even for private 5G networks, spectrum is required. This is where the industry is at a standstill at the moment.
The telecom operators have asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) not to reserve a dedicated spectrum for private organisations. But the MNCs such as Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Tata Communications (TCL) has urged the telecom regulator to follow global practices and reserve a dedicated block of spectrum for the private companies.
Telcos Worried About Telecom Sector
According to an ET Telecom report, the telcos are worried about the sustainability and growth of the telecom sector. They believe that reserving a block of spectrum for private 5G and giving it to the companies at an administrative price or for free would result in a loss to the national exchequer as well as disrupt the growth of the telecom industry.
The rule set by the Supreme Court is clear. If the spectrum is allocated to a company for commercial use and increasing profitability, it should be auctioned to maintain transparency.
Jio has said that “there is no valid justification” in allocating the spectrum administratively to the private companies for building 5G networks. Even Airtel believes the same. The Sunil Bharti Mittal led telco said that if the private sector companies require a 5G spectrum in an administrative manner, they should be provided with unlicensed bands since coverage is not an issue for them.
TCL believes that telcos can’t customise their networks based on the requirements of the private enterprises; thus, they should get their share of spectrum separately and without an auction.
Vodafone Idea, however, doesn’t share the views of TCL. The third-largest telco has said that it is capable of meeting all the network customisation needs at competitive rates. The decision from TRAI and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is yet to come.