The captive private network operators on Friday trashed the claims of the telecom players that spectrum rules for private networks will facilitate the entry of big technology players in the sector — because their purpose is to enhance the efficiencies of businesses and not cater to the general public in any manner.
They said the main gripe of the telcos that the private network operators will get spectrum through the allocation route and not bidding via auctions has no basis.
Even if they buy the spectrum through allocation, there is the possibility that the telecom operators will be engaged to build the private networks.
The suggestion, therefore, that the captive network players should bid for spectrum is “extremely irrational”, industry body Broadband India Forum (BIF) said.
The BIF counts Tata Consultancy Services, Cisco, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook-owner Meta, Qualcomm and Intel among its key members.
BIF refuted the “misinformation” being propagated to demand a level playing field between two completely different sets of services, public and private networks.
The comments came a day after telcos’ body COAI - which represents Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea - claimed that administrative allocation of spectrum for private 5G networks will be against the tenets of fairness.
The COAI had alleged that administrative allocation of spectrum for captive 5G networks is against principles of level playing field and effectively provides a “backdoor entry” to big technology players to enterprises in India without equivalent regulatory compliance and payment of levies that telcos are subject to.
Industry body BIF countered this saying such an argument is flawed and misleading.
“It is however, apparent that certain quarters and incumbents with vested interests are attempting to derail this progressive development through irrational, misleading and misinformed claims for a level playing field between the vastly different service domains of public networks and captive non-public networks,” BIF said.
It argued that the suggestion that captive private networks should bid for spectrum in auctions is extremely irrational, given that their objective is to enhance efficiencies and not use the spectrum to provide commercial public services.