TRAI Bats for Private Enterprise 5G Citing Global Trend, But Telcos Unhappy

COAI said that enterprise services constitute up to 30%-40% of the overall revenues for the telecom industry. The telecom service providers (TSPs) have already invested and will continue to invest lakhs of crores into rolling out networks in India.

Highlights

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has supported private enterprise networks in its recommendations released on Monday.
  • COAI has called for TRAI to disallow private enterprise networks to maintain the financial viability of the telecom industry and ensure orderly growth.
  • COAI has also asked the regulatory body to revisit the spectrum pricing recommendations as the current price cut is not enough.

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has supported private enterprise networks in its recommendations released on Monday. The regulatory body cited examples of countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, Germany, and Finland, which have already set aside spectrum in the mmWave (millimetre wavelength) bands for private captive 5G networks. Then there are countries such as Korea, Sweden, and Slovenia, which are planning to keep both mid-band and mmWave 5G spectrum for private captive networks.

But the telecom operators don’t want this to happen. Lt Gen Dr SP Kochhar, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), said the TRAI is hurting the dynamics and the financial health of the industry rather than improving it by allowing private captive networks for enterprises.

Enterprise Services Constitute Up to 40% of Overall Revenues for the Industry

COAI said that enterprise services constitute up to 30%-40% of the overall revenues for the telecom industry. The telecom service providers (TSPs) have already invested and will continue to invest lakhs of crores into rolling out networks in India. But the existence of private captive networks for enterprises will disincentivise the telecom industry to invest heavily in networks and continue paying high taxes and levies.

COAI has called for TRAI to disallow private enterprise networks to maintain the financial viability of the telecom industry and ensure orderly growth. The telecom operators will be worried about the arrival of private 5G for enterprises.

Services that today they offer won’t be directly required by the enterprise. That is why the telco body is asking the TRAI to disallow private 5G. It would hurt the business of the telcos and remove potential cash inflow into the industry.

COAI has also asked the regulatory body to revisit the spectrum pricing recommendations as the current price cut is not enough. TRAI must do away with 1.5 times price multiple for 30 years of spectrum allocation, said COAI.

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