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Adani’s 5G rollout hits roadblocks

Despite surprising the industry with its purchase of 5G spectrum in last year’s auction, Adani Group has now announced that it is unable to identify suitable use cases and will fail to meet the government’s year-one rollout requirements.

Adani Data Networks has requested an extension from the Department of Telecommunications to meet rollout obligations for the spectrum it acquired last year. The deadline is in August and failing to meet it will result in penalties for the company.

During a meeting with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Adani Group stated that it has a limited amount of spectrum (50-100 MHz) and is unable to identify appropriate use cases for rolling out services, hence it will need to request more time from the Department of Telecommunications. There has been no response to an email query sent to Adani Group.

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, two telecom service providers, are yet to utilize the 26 GHz spectrum for any of their services. However, it is expected that they will do so in the near future. Currently, these providers are offering consumer services using the 5G spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band and have already introduced 5G services in more than 500 cities. On the other hand, Vodafone Idea has not yet begun offering any services.

The Adani Group has failed to meet its deadline for the first year of its telecom license obligations. Analysts are surprised at this, as the obligations were basic and required only the commercial launch of services in one area of a metro or non-metro circle. In Delhi, for example, services could have been launched in just one area, not the entire city. In non-metro circles, services needed to be launched in at least one city.

According to analysts, Adani Group could have met its telecom license obligations by providing broadband services in one area or connecting any of its airports or ports through data networks. Adani Data Networks acquired 400 MHz of 5G spectrum in six circles through a unified license from the Department of Telecommunications, but has failed to meet its year-one roll-out obligations. The company has 100 MHz of 5G spectrum in Mumbai and Gujarat. Moreover, there are more 50 MHz each in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

According to analysts, the license acquired by the Adani Group would assist its data centre business in transferring data within and outside of the country. Without this license, the group would have had to rely on telecom operators’ services to transfer data, for which they would have had to pay carriage charges.

Adani Group clarified that their purchase of 5G spectrum was not for retail telecom services, but rather to establish a private 5G network with improved cybersecurity measures for their airports, ports, logistics, power generation, transmission, distribution, and manufacturing operations. The company stated that their participation in the 5G spectrum auction was for providing private network solutions. Bharatexpress

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