Captive wireless network good for all, speculated loss of telco revenues misplaced view: BIF
Think-tank BIF has contested the views of telecom industry body COAI against sector regulator Trai's recommendation to allow business organisations to set up their own wireless networks for captive usage, saying the provision will be beneficial for everyone.
In a letter to Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman, Broadband India Forum (BIF) President T V Ramachandran said the recommendations pertaining to private 5G networks address the interests of all the stakeholders -- telecom operators, enterprises, as well as the public, since more private networks would lead to more employment opportunities and business, translating into greater economic gains.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had on April 11 recommended allowing establishment of isolated captive wireless private networks using mobile services spectrum. It said the entity should be provided a licence for the same without charging any entry fee.
The regulator also said such entities should not provide any commercial telecom services.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), whose members include Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, has expressed disappointment on recommendations of the Trai for the proposed spectrum auctions on various counts, including higher pricing of the radiowaves and allowing private captive networks for enterprises.
The telecom body had said enterprise services constitute 30-40 per cent of the industry's overall revenues and private networks once again disincentivise the telecom industry from investing in networks.
BIF said it is also often misunderstood in certain quarters that private 5G networks would lead to revenue loss for telcos.
''In actuality, in the present scenario, the majority of the enterprise revenues of TSPs (telecom service providers) would be through external network services which comprise voice and data communications.
Ramachandran, in the letter, said there seems to be an evident lack of clarity on the concept of captive networks, even in some quarters within the industry.
''It needs to be clearly understood that Private Networks would not be addressing the retail market and they would need the dedicated spectrum within the local campus only and the same spectrum, if required, can be reused elsewhere,'' he said.
The BIF president said a more efficient captive network through private 5G would lead to increased productivity for the enterprise, which would help grow business activities and external communications, thereby driving better revenues for the TSPs.
''Balanced recommendations from Trai on private 5G networks, once formalised into policy, would be a win-win for all. India would not need to wait for pan-India rollout of public networks to enjoy the benefits of 5G.
''In fact, learnings from the use of Private 5G Networks can be used to build competence and significant expertise, and further be leveraged for wider deployment of our nation-wide public network,'' Ramachandran said.
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