telcos: DoT issues spectrum leasing guidelines for telcos for private captive networks


Amidst a tussle between telecom and tech companies, the department of telecom 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.

The guidelines issued by DoT allows private companies to obtain IMT spectrum from one or more telecom service providers (TSPs) with access service license on mutually agreed terms and conditions.

Both telcos and private companies leasing spectrum have to ensure that there is no interference caused to any public network or any other licensed user of spectrum.

TSPs will have to submit the details of spectrum bands, quantum of spectrum in each band, period of lease, geographic area of lease, geo-coordinates of the logical perimeter of the defined premises, and use of spectrum to DoT within 15 days of entering into the leasing agreement.

Companies leasing spectrum to set up captive networks will have to obtain online clearance and import certificate from SACFA (Standing Advisory Committee on Frequency Allocation).

The guidelines also state that the revenue earned by TSPs through leasing spectrum will form part of its gross revenue.

Enterprises setting up private captive networks can also obtain spectrum directly from the DoT. TSPs are also allowed to offer captive networks as a service to enterprises through network slicing over its public network.

The spectrum leasing guidelines come amidst a bitter fight between telcos and tech companies after the cabinet allowed direct spectrum allocation to enterprises for captive private networks.

While tech companies have asked for direct allocation to set up industry 4.0 use cases, telcos have protested claiming it will lose out on 40% of potential revenue if spectrum is allocated directly.

At least 794 organisations and 70 telecom operators are deploying either LTE or 5G private networks, according to the global mobile suppliers association with the manufacturing sector with 140 companies involved in pilots and deployments, followed by education and mining sectors.


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