The Digital Communications Commission (DCC) recently made the decision to prohibit the direct allocation of the spectrum to corporate enterprises for captive private 5G networks which is now been criticised by the technology firms. These tech firms are now in a hope that the Cabinet will overturn this decision and will then make a final call which will be in the best interests of the overall digitalisation of the country.
The Need for Administrative Allocation
According to a report from ET Telecom, the tech companies fear that such a move will significantly hamper India’s aim of digitalising its industry and leveraging its current geopolitical advantage. This decision was taken by the DCC despite the recommendations shared by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) which suggested the allocation of spectrum to captive private 5G networks.
The president of Broadband India Forum (BIF), T V Ramachandran in a statement said that TRAI’s call for allocation of spectrum administratively for private 5G networks is most appropriate and it would be disappointing if indeed DCC has decided not to do this as it would be a huge setback to India’s broader ambitions of digitalising its industry, healthcare systems, logistics hubs, agriculture processes or even leveraging its current geopolitical advantage. Cisco, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook-owner Meta, Qualcomm and Intel are some of the prominent members of the BIF.
On one hand, TRAI’s recommendation to directly allocate the 5G spectrum to the private 5G networks has received huge support from the tech companies and are now waiting for the cabinet to make the final decision. The tech companies believe that the decision would boost employment opportunities and business and translate into greater economic output and benefits.
On the other hand, telecom companies have been strongly against TRAI’s recommendations stating that it would take away a significant part of their future 5G enterprise business revenues which is estimated at around 40% of overall 5G business revenues. The representative body for Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel – The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) recently appealed to the regulatory body to disallow private 5G enterprise networks to ensure financial viability and orderly growth of the telecom industry.