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DoT releases guidelines for leasing of spectrum to Captive Non-Public Network Licensee

The department of telecommunications (DoT) has allowed telcos to lease spectrum to companies to set up captive non-public networks (CNPNs), issuing fresh guidelines to facilitate spectrum leasing for the first time in India, in a bid to facilitate industry 4.0 use cases like machine-to-machine communications, mobile edge computing, etc.

Neither is Broadband India Forum representing the large private enterprise happy as the Rs 100 crore net worth criteria will hinder mass proliferation of captive 5G networks; nor are the telcos, as large tech companies can easily meet the Rs 100 crore net-worth criteria, while the telcos, on the contrary, will need to buy these coveted airwaves by spending huge amounts of money in the upcoming auction.

According to the guidelines, the enterprises seeking spectrum directly from the telecom department would be given a renewable licence for 10 years against a non-refundable application charge of Rs 50,000. Such companies won’t need to pay any entry or licence fee.

Entities that apply for spectrum need to have a minimum net worth of Rs 100 crore. The applicant must be registered under the Companies Act and be an occupant of the geographical area/property on which it intends to establish the CNPN.

In order to obtain spectrum directly from the government, the DoT will undertake demand studies, and then seek recommendations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for direct assignment of spectrum to such enterprises

Enterprises who want to set up their captive private 5G networks on their own would need to obtain spectrum on lease from operators or get the telcos to set up the networks for them.

The DoT has also released amendments to the unified licence and unified access service licence, allowing telcos to lease spectrum to CNPN licensees too.

It also issued spectrum leasing rules, which allowed telcos to lease auctioned IMT (5G) spectrum to CNPN licensees. “In such a case, the telecom service provider must submit the details of the spectrum band, the quantum of spectrum, the period of lease, the geographic area, the geo-coordinates of the logical perimeter of the defined premises, and the use of spectrum on the Saral Sanchar Portal within 15 days of entering the agreement,” the guidelines said.

The guidelines also clarified that the revenue earned from leasing spectrum shall form part of a telco’s gross revenue. Gross revenue is used to calculate a telco’s licence and spectrum usage charge that it pays to the government.


CT Bureau

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