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BIF rejoinders to Secy DoT, countering COAI’s letter on Saturday

Broadband India Forum (BIF) on Thursday has written to the government, countering the recent letter by Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) on 5G captive networks, saying the telecom regulator’s recommendations have adequately dealt with all the aspects regarding licensing and spectrum, which are sufficient.

It said the notice inviting applications (NIA) provides explicit clarity on the subject of captive non-public networks (CNPN) and has laid down the principle that a CNPN can be set up in any of the possible ways as stated in the Section 2.4 of the NIA, including the one where CNPNs for non-telecom verticals may obtain the spectrum directly from Department of Telecommunications and establish their own isolated network.

“The need for this inclusion is important for the overall development of the Indian industries ecosystem to advance up to globally competitive levels, as well as for our aspiring digital economy to become a world leader – establish our position in the international market as a global manufacturing and supply chain hub. It is, therefore, disappointing to observe certain objections, misrepresentations and misinformation on this aspect being voiced and publicised in certain quarters,” TV Ramachandran, President, BIF, urged in the letter to DoT Secretary, K Rajaraman, who is also the Chairman – Digital Communications Commission (DCC).

Noting TRAI’s recommendations, he said that while Industry 4.0 can be served by using network slicing, it requires presence of telecom service providers’ network in the given area.

“One could argue that in case an enterprise wants to set up private captive network in a remote area where TSP’s networks may not be available, option of spectrum leasing is available. However, it will be a situation where all the enterprises interested in setting up captive wireless private network, would be completely dependent on the TSPs. Therefore, the Authority is of the view that earmarking some spectrum for localised captive wireless private networks, is a key requirement for some of the industries, particularly in cases of manufacturing and other verticals where the connectivity is highly critical,” he wrote.

Collective ecosystem
This will aid in development of collective ecosystem and overall development of the country, Ramachandran said, adding that thus TRAI’s rationale for allocation of spectrum directly to non-telecom verticals appears to have been ignored or overlooked.

“It cannot be the intention that in setting up such private captive networks they have to depend solely on TSPs,” he added.

The development comes after COAI on Saturday writing to Rajaraman, asking the government to ensure that a level-playing field is maintained between the incumbents and new entrants in terms of licence fees and meeting other regulatory conditions. The Hindu BusinessLine

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