The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has released a set of guidelines for the deployment of restricted private 5G networks, along with new guidelines to facilitate spectrum leasing for the first time in India. This was done with the aim of facilitating the use of 5G airwaves to develop use cases such as machine-to-machine communication, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, etc.
Restricted Non-Public Networks (CNPN) standards require companies wishing to obtain spectrum directly from the government to obtain a 10-year renewable license, for which the government will not charge any license fees. However, companies with a net worth of at least Rs 100 crore will be eligible to set up private 5G networks and the applicant will have to pay a one-time non-refundable application processing fee of Rs 50,000 and the licensee will be required to do so. Follow stipulated network security standards regarding purchasing communications equipment from trusted sources.
In the case of spectrum lease, technology companies will be allowed to lease airwaves from one or more telecom service providers and will have to provide details of spectrum range, amount of spectrum, lease period, geographic area and geographic coordinates from the perimeter of the designated buildings to the government. Moreover, the revenue earned from spectrum leasing will be a part of the total revenue of the telecom companies.
Notably, for CNPNs, the DoT has restricted the use of these networks to private use only, and prohibited private networks from connecting to public networks “in any way”. In addition, both the telecom companies and technology companies that lease spectrum are required to ensure that no interference occurs with any public network or any other licensed user of the spectrum. Regarding the scope of an enterprise CNPN (Restricted Non-Public Network) license, the Department of Transportation said that such licensee may establish an indoor non-public network or within an isolated non-public building for private use within license operating areas.
Earlier this month, along with announcing a spectrum auction to roll out 5G services across the country, the government announced a proposal for tech companies to obtain spectrum directly from it to test and build Industry 4.0 applications such as machine-to-machine communications and the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and so on.