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Chief Executive Officer: Participation of Vodaphone Idea in 5G network is meaningful

In India, a dispute is growing over the distribution of spectrum for 5G private networks. The Indian government has not yet made a decision regarding how much 5G spectrum would be used to create private networks for businesses.

Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea, the top three private telcos, have told the government that they won’t participate in the upcoming 5G spectrum auctions unless and until the government guarantees that the spectrum won’t be given to businesses for building 5G private networks.

This occurs just as the telecom regulator is about to present its suggestions for the 5G auctions. The allotment of the 5G spectrum for private networks has emerged as a significant point of inflection between the telcos and the companies. India is prepared to undertake 5G spectrum auctions in the upcoming month.

The telecoms’ viewpoint

Although the 5G use case for consumers has not yet materialized, private networks are one of the most significant 5G use cases in the enterprise market, according to the telecoms. However, if the businesses choose to bypass the auctions and buy the spectrum directly from the government at low administrative costs, they stand to lose. Therefore, the telcos claim that it is not justified to spend a large sum of money acquiring spectrum when businesses may do it for a very small sum.

The only people who can possess a spectrum are service providers. Any business interested in establishing a 5G private network will have little choice but to use the telcos’ services in order to maintain this trend.

A private wireless network was recently established thanks to a partnership between Vodafone Idea and Larsen & Toubro Smart World and Communications (L&T). Not long ago, Nokia had to work with BSNL and Airtel to create a private wireless network using 4G LTE in the 2100 MHz frequency spectrum at its Chennai factory.

Any company interested in establishing 5G private networks will have no choice but to work through the telecoms since they want to protect their monopoly on the spectrum.

The corporate perspective

The spectrum should be supplied at administrative rates to businesses that want to develop 5G private networks for their own use, contrary to the telecoms’ belief that it should be auctioned and licensed.

The businesses also point out that the majority of nations, such as Germany, Japan, Australia, and the United Kingdom, have reserved spectrum for 5G private networks, exempting them from having to take part in auctions. Spectrum purchases by businesses are likewise permitted in the US.

The telecoms must consider why they did so little to promote 4G private networks, even while they wish to maintain their monopoly on the 5G spectrum. In India, there are hardly any 4G private networks. This confrontation between the service providers and the businesses is anticipated to worsen as the 5G spectrum auction is slated to take place the following month.