DoT favours sale of spectrum to private captive players

S Ronendra Singh | Updated on: Jun 14, 2022

Sends recommendations to the Cabinet for approval

The government may be ready to give telecom spectrum to captive players utilising the airwaves for their private use in campuses like factories, hotels and universities.

According to sources, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) discussed the controversial matter in a meeting chaired by Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Monday.

“Enterprises setting up private captive networks may obtain the spectrum directly from the DoT and establish their own isolated network,” a senior government official told BusinessLine on anonymity adding that these recommendations from DoT have been sent to the Cabinet for approval.

Two big industry bodies have been already fighting on this. The Broadband India Forum (BIF) wants the spectrum to be allocated to private captive enterprises, while the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) says the spectrum should remain with telecom service providers (TSPs).

BusinessLine, on May 31, had written that the industry bodies and private captive players had asked the government to allocate the captive 5G networks to them at the same time as the auction for TSPs so that they can also roll out their services at the earliest. Earlier the government had assured them that their demand would be suitably considered before the end of this fiscal year.

Because of various demands placed by different stakeholders, the government has been delaying the spectrum auction, which was supposed to start this month-end or early July. It takes at least 45 days to start the auction process from the day of approval by the Cabinet.

Sources had indicated that after ruling out the allocation of spectrum to private network users in the upcoming auction, the players, through their representative bodies, have approached the government, saying that the decision could immensely damage the government’s policy to digitalise the economy and make Indian products compatible in the global market.

Captive networks are isolated networks in which a spectrum is assigned to enterprises to be utilised within a limited geographic area. Therefore, it is also referred to as a spectrum for localised or local use. Spectrum assigned for localised private captive networks is used so that the signals are restricted within their geographic area and do not cause interference with other outside systems.

Published on June 13, 2022
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