“…there are some different experiences that we have seen in different markets of how private networks have shaped up in some markets..there are enterprises that have really taken to it. And, in some markets, they have not. We believe that the initial use case would be largely driven more by larger organizations which have more captive requirements, the mass proliferation could possibly be a bit more on the longer timeframe,” Arvind Nevatia, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, Vodafone Idea told ET exclusively.
“This would definitely be an area where we would be fully positioned to participate in it in a meaningful manner,” he added.
The telco had previously partnered with Larsen and Toubro Smart World & Communication (L&T SWC) to establish a use case for private LTE enterprise networks in India.
Both companies have a “proof of concept” trial happening at group business L&T Heavy Engineering’s ‘A M Naik Heavy Engineering Complex’ at Hazira in Surat, Gujarat. “…so we would be ready to participate in it as it evolves and shapes up.”
His comments come just days after the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued new rules that said enterprises seeking spectrum directly from the government would be given a renewable permit for 10 years against a non-refundable application charge of Rs 50,000. These enterprises won’t need to pay any entry or licence fees.
Direct spectrum allotments to enterprises, though, will happen only after DoT concludes demand studies and obtains the sector regulator’s views on this score, a process that could take a couple of years.
Tech companies are particularly miffed as they fear the likely delay in direct spectrum allotments to enterprises would give telcos a first-mover advantage in the captive 5G networks game.
Following the Cabinet’s decision to allow non-telecom operators to provide 5G private network services, Indian telcos had asked the government to ensure that a level-playing field is maintained between the incumbents and new entrants in terms of licence fees and meeting other regulatory conditions.The executive said that the telco has a strategy in place for its enterprise business in the 5G era. “Vi Business believes in the partnership model, and we have a set of world class partners with whom we are developing use cases and are testing proof of concepts.”
Based on global developments and learning, the executive said that 5G IoT, industry 4.0, robotics in manufacturing, fixed wireless access (FWA) could take off first with commercial 5G services. “These are some spaces where we could see action with 5G…but it will have opportunities and use cases across the board.”