Government should not allow backdoor entry into Big Tech for 5G: COAI

New Delhi: The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the industry’s apex body representing telcos, on Thursday urged the government to allow big tech companies to enter 5G spectrum auction through back door channels this month. Do not allow COAI in a statement said that 5G spectrum should not be provided on administrative grounds as it does not make any commercial case for rollout of 5G network in the country.

“If independent entities set up private captive networks with direct 5G spectrum allocation by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), it will reduce revenues so much that there will be no viable business case for Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) and there will be no viable business case for the COAI. Director General, Lt Gen Dr. SP Kochhar said, “There will be no need for 5G network rollout by TSPs.” (Also read: Microsoft first major tech firm to cut staff amid global recession

COAI said, it is important to understand that the licensed access service providers are fully capable of providing these services most competitively and economically as compared to private companies. “Any view on the administrative allocation of spectrum for such networks is fundamentally against the principles of equal opportunity,” Kochhar said.

The telecom industry body further said that it will effectively provide backdoor entry to large technology players to provide 5G services and solutions to enterprises in India, without the same regulatory compliance and payment of levies that are subject to TSP. (Also read: When will 5G services start in India? IT Minister shared a big update, said deployment will start…)

DoT has issued a notice inviting applications for auction of spectrum in 600, 700, 800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2300, 2500, 3300 MHz and 26GHz bands. NIA provides clear clarity on the subject of Captive Non-Public Networks (CNPN). The last date for submission of applications was July 8 and it would indicate potential participants for the auction and the earnest money deposit on July 20 which would indicate the maximum spectrum payout for each telco. Telecom companies are allowed to surrender spectrum which will be auctioned after a period of at least 10 years from the date of acquisition. Last month, giving a big relief to telecom companies, DoT had abolished 3 per cent floor rate on spectrum usage charge.