Home5GOver 20 Indian firms show interest in setting up 5G private networks

Over 20 Indian firms show interest in setting up 5G private networks

Infosys, Capgemini, GMR, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Communications, Tata Power and Tejas Networks are among the interested firms to deploy private 5G networks


Over 20 Indian companies have applied to secure 5G spectrum to set private networks in the country, local newspaper The Economic Times reported, citing officials with knowledge of the matter.

Some of the interested companies include Infosys, Capgemini, GMR, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Communications, Tata Power and Tejas Networks.

The companies’ applications were submitted in response to a request from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) meant to help figure out the level of market demand for spectrum to set up private networks. After assessing the demand, the Indian government will decide whether or not spectrum for such private networks should be assigned, and at what price. Currently, enterprises can lease spectrum from telcos to establish a private network.

However, the DoT has said that the current exercise was to study demand—so an application at this stage would not mean spectrum would be assigned to the interested company.

The press report noted that industry executives believe that the overall process to define the rules of the process to award 5G spectrum to private companies could take one to two years.

The potential direct allocation of spectrum to enterprises for the deployment of private networks has been generating tensions between technology firms and telecom operators.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has told the Indian government that local carriers will not have incentives to deploy 5G networks if authorities allow 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.”

Meanwhile, the Broadband Indian Forum, an independent think-tank and policy forum for digital communications in the country, had stated that the decision to allow tech firms to set up private networks will lead to better efficiencies and productivity and will also propel indigenous manufacturing. The entity highlighted that private 5G networks would be crucial for the enterprises to augment efficiencies and enhance productivity.

Indian company Tata Communications recently said it is currently in talks with at least 40 large businesses from different verticals about providing them with private 5G networks.

Vishy Ramaswamy, Tata Communications’s VP for 5G and digital solutions incubation, reportedly said that the firm is currently carrying out some trials with these companies, and in certain cases, Tata Communications is already having commercials talks regarding future private 5G network deployments.

Under local regulations, TCS can set up 5G private network for enterprises but cannot become a licensee or own spectrum. A company that intends to deploy a private network can lease out frequencies from a telecom operator or directly purchase the frequencies from the government.


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