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India’s operators oppose allocation of spectrum to corporate firms

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As India’s 5G spectrum auction was again delayed, leading Indian telcos Airtel, Jio and Vodafone Idea have opposed plans to offer 5G spectrum to private captive networks, claiming it could provide back door entries to private companies.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), the group that represents the operators said it believes that giving private companies access to spectrum isn’t “justified”.

There is fear amongst the operators that this could directly affect the revenues of licensed service providers, creating a non-level playing field in the country.

In a statement, COAI said: “We are of the firm opinion that notwithstanding any advancement of technologies, there is no justification whatsoever for allocating spectrum to industry verticals for operating private captive networks

“The licensed Access Service Providers are fully capable of providing all customized solutions including M2M / Industrial 4.0 services in the most competitive and economic manner

One of the corporate companies in question is Tata Consultancy Services, a software and services provider that is part of Tata Group.

The long-awaited 5G spectrum auction was initially scheduled to take place in June after several delays, but this has again been delayed as the government continues to decide how to allocate spectrum.

Earlier this year, the Indian government was reportedly considering lowering the price for the 5G auction.

Operators in the country have frequently complained about the high price to the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) noting it was significantly higher than other markets around the world.

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