The association representing domestic telecom equipment makers has appealed to the Digital Communication Commission (DCC) to reconsider the decision made by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) regarding the allocation of spectrum for private networks. The ministry has recently determined that spectrum for private captive networks will not be assigned administratively to enterprises, and instead, it can only be leased through telecom operators.
According to a report from TheHinduBusinessLine, for nearly two years, the Ministry of Communications has been reviewing this matter, which has significant implications for domestic developers of the telecom industry. Many of these developers had relied on the direct allocation of spectrum from the government to support their businesses. However, India's telecommunications equipment ecosystem currently lacks a robust presence due to the dominance of global giants like Nokia and Ericsson. Numerous companies, including Tejas Networks, Infosys, GMR, and Larsen & Toubro, as well as various government ministries involved in pilot projects, were seeking to establish private networks for administrative purposes.
RK Bhatnagar, the head of the association known as Voice, has written a letter to the DCC requesting a review of the DoT's decision. The association emphasises the importance of direct spectrum allocation for sectors such as mining, manufacturing, power, refineries, steel plants, and public sector undertakings like ONGC. The argument put forward by licensed mobile players, which seems to have influenced the DoT's stance, is that private networks should obtain spectrum by leasing it from telecom operators.
This decision poses a setback for the aspirations of various industries and organisations, hindering their plans to leverage the potential of 5G private networks. The association hopes that a reconsideration of the spectrum allocation policy will enable a more conducive environment for the development and deployment of private networks, benefitting both the domestic telecom equipment makers and the sectors reliant on such networks.
It remains to be seen how the DCC will respond to the appeal and whether there will be any adjustments to the spectrum allocation approach for private networks in India.