5G spectrum: Trai to take call on pvt networks

Allocation to be decided by regulator for non-telco operators

However, for external communication, services of a telecom operator would be needed.
However, for external communication, services of a telecom operator would be needed.

The issue of allocation of spectrum — through auctions or administratively – for setting up private networks will be decided by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India when it submits its recommendations on the reserve price for 5G spectrum auctions. The recommendations are expected by March.

Since 5G would herald the era of private networks, the Trai has asked the telecom operators and other stakeholders whether the licensing framework needs to be changed when bandwidth is used for purposes other than providing direct services to consumers. “They can be used by industries to automate manufacturing lines, to reduce security risks, to protect employees from dangerous environments, monitoring and control of assets etc,” Trai has said.

The issue assumes significance since with 5G services on the anvil a tussle has started between telecom operators and non-telecom firms over allowing setting up of private networks.

Since 5G allows for office automation, machine-to-machine communications on a much large scale, a need has been felt by non-telecom firms for setting up their own telecom networks for captive purposes – meaning for all kind of communication activities within their internal networks. In simple terms, it allows firms to set up their own WiFi network rather than taking the services from any telecom service provider as is the norm today. However, for external communication, services of a telecom operator would be needed.

For setting up private networks, companies would need 5G spectrum and the fight is how it would be allocated to them. Telecom operators so far are opposed to administrative allocation of spectrum to enterprises for setting up such private networks. They want that spectrum should be auctioned for such purposes also.

According to sources, Trai may consider reserving 25 MHz spectrum in 3400 MHz-3425 MHz band for private networks across the country, barring the five locations where Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is using the spectrum.

Telecom operators maintain that all spectrum should be auctioned and this should apply to private non-telecom firms interested in setting up their private networks.

However, independent analysts say that since private networks are akin to an intranet kind of network, auctioning spectrum does not make sense. The right way is to provide spectrum on a fixed charge to firms interested in setting up such networks. The charge can be determined by the Trai and DoT.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express Telegram Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.