YOU ARE AT:5GIndian government approves 5G spectrum auction

Indian government approves 5G spectrum auction

The government has also decided to allow enterprises to deploy and run 5G private networks

The Government of India announced plans to hold an auction of 5G spectrum by the end of July and confirmed that some frequencies will be reserved to enable enterprises to deploy private mobile networks.

In a statement, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi announced it had approved a proposal of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to auction a total of 72GHz of spectrum, with a validity period of 20 years.

The government also agreed to set a reserve price of INR3.2 billion ($40.6 million), according to a Reuters report. The auction will offer frequencies in the 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 3,300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands.

The government also confirmed that there will not be mandatory requirement to make upfront payment by the successful bidders. Payments can be made by winning bidders in 20 equal monthly installments. In case they opt for upfront payment, a moratorium of two years is offered.

The government also said that those interested in participating in the spectrum auction are invited to submit their applications by July 8 with the process due to start on July 26.

Private networks

The government has also decided to allow enterprises to deploy and run private networks. These firms will be able to acquire spectrum directly from the DoT to set up networks to test and build Industry 4.0 applications such as machine-to-machine communications, IoT and artificial intelligence. The cabinet noted it decided to enable private networks to support a new wave of industrial applications in sectors such as automotive, healthcare, agriculture and energy, among others.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had recently told the Government of India that local carriers will not have incentives to deploy 5G networks if authorities allowed private companies to run their own private 5G networks.

The COAI, which has local operators Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea as some of its key members, has sent a letter to India’s Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw stating that there is “no business case for the roll out of 5G networks” if the government finally approved the possibility for local enterprises to deploy and operate their own 5G networks.

The entity noted that the possibility of permitting such private networks will “diminish the revenue so much that there will be no viable business case left for the telecom service providers and there will not remain any need for 5G network roll out by telecom service providers.”

In a tweet, the COAI wrote allocating spectrum to industry verticals for private networks “isn’t justified as licensed access service providers are fully capable of providing all customized solutions”.

Meanwhile, Broadband India Forum (BIF), which supports private networks, recently published a paper in which it has challenged the premise that Indian operators would lose revenues as the entity considers that private 5G will lead to increased productivity for enterprises which will in turn increase the need for more external communications.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro Tomás
Juan Pedro covers Global Carriers and Global Enterprise IoT. Prior to RCR, Juan Pedro worked for Business News Americas, covering telecoms and IT news in the Latin American markets. He also worked for Telecompaper as their Regional Editor for Latin America and Asia/Pacific. Juan Pedro has also contributed to Latin Trade magazine as the publication's correspondent in Argentina and with political risk consultancy firm Exclusive Analysis, writing reports and providing political and economic information from certain Latin American markets. He has a degree in International Relations and a master in Journalism and is married with two kids.

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