5G private networks not a threat to Indian telecom firms: Ookla

Telecom firms have raised concerns over recommendations of Trai in favour of private 5G networks, saying that doing so will hit their enterprise revenues.

private 5G
Trai has recommended that non-telecom enterprises would

After the Broadband India Forum (BIF), global analytical firm Ookla has also said assigning 5G spectrum to private enterprises is not a threat to Indian telecom firms.

Telecom firms have raised concerns over recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in favour of private 5G networks, saying that doing so will hit their enterprise revenues.

“Looking at the example of private networks across Europe, and Germany in particular, we believe that Indian telcos shouldn’t see Trai’s proposal as a threat. Rather, they should use the buzz around the spectrum for verticals as a way to get enterprises interested in digitalisation,” Ookla said in its latest insights.

As per the analytical firm, many countries are looking at private networks to address Industry 4.0 objectives and awarding spectrum for vertical use, like Germany, Japan and France. According to GSA data, as of February, 656 organisations were deploying LTE or 5G private mobile networks. Dedicated spectrum available for private mobile networks has already been allocated in France, US, Germany, Japan, and the UK. In Germany, the national regulatory authority (BnetzA) is promoting industrial policy and has reserved 100 MHz in the 3,700-3,800 MHz for local networks, noting that the spectrum can be used in particular for Industry 4.0.

Ookla said when it comes to private networks, the typical rules of engagement no longer apply, and with network virtualisation continuing, the ecosystem of vendors has expanded beyond traditional telco players.

“Rather than seeing spectrum for verticals as a threat, operators can use it as a way to get enterprises, in particular manufacturing companies, interested in digitalisation,” Ookla said.

Earlier, BIF, the industry body of technology players like Facebook and Google, had dismissed objections raised by telecom operators. BIF had said that with efficient private networks, enterprises would increase their productivity, which in turn will open enhanced revenue streams for telcos.

Trai has recommended that non-telecom enterprises would be allocated 5G spectrum for building private networks. As per options given by the regulator, a private network can be rolled out through a slice of telcos network, or an enterprise may request a telco to establish an independent isolated private network in its premises using the spectrum of the telecom operator, or an enterprise may obtain the spectrum on lease from a telco and establish its own isolated captive network. The regulator has also suggested that an enterprise may obtain the spectrum directly from the government and establish its own captive network.

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

Most Read In Industry
Photos