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DoT against giving 5G spectrum to enterprises for private network: Report

The DoT will soon inform the cabinet and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) about its decision to go against private network providers

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BS Web Team New Delhi

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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) believes that allocating spectrum directly to enterprises for private captive networks will not be feasible and is most likely to go against it, a report by The Economic Times (ET) said on Friday. This comes when several companies like Infosys, Larsen & Toubro, Tata Power and GMR have been asking the Centre to allocate the spectrum without auctions.

The DoT will soon inform the cabinet and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) about its decision to go against private network providers, an official quoted in the report said.

"If an enterprise wants to roll out a captive network, it can be done utilising the options already notified by DoT, including leasing spectrum from telecom operators," they added.

Last year, the DoT released guidelines on private networks. It said that the companies that want to set up their captive networks can lease 5G spectrum from telcos or get it from DoT.

However, later the DoT consulted attorney general R Venkataramani on the issue. Citing the 2G spectrum, he said that auctions are a preferred mode of allocating natural resources.

Citing the 2G spectrum case, he said that questions could be raised at a later stage. He added that the Centre is free to classify the spectrum and not auction a particular bandwidth.

This prompted the DoT to reassess the direct allocation process.

"In the case of administrative allocation (2G spectrum case), when there are more players, the first criterion which comes to mind is first-come-first-served, but the same was denounced by the Supreme Court," another DoT official told ET.

If the demand of the private operators is not met through the available options, the DoT will intervene to ease the bottlenecks.

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First Published: May 26 2023 | 9:17 AM IST

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