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No case for level playing field on private 5G networks: BIF

No case for level playing field on private 5G networks: BIF
Photo Credit: Pixabay
21 Jun, 2022
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we haven't use this Tech companies backing private 5G networks in a fresh salvo dismissed demands of telecom companies seeking level playing field on private 5G networks on the grounds that the captive networks would not compete with public networks, will be used for self-consumption, would not be resold, and therefore do not need to be regulated in the same way as carriers’ networks.

Broadband India Foundation, representing the likes of Amazon, TCS, Meta and others, said that public 5G had different requirements from private 5G networks as they were restricted to particular geographical area, not connected to public networks and therefore would not need lawful interception, trusted source requirements and other security related conditions.  

“Seeking a level playing field with enterprises for captive private networks is akin to a child in kindergarten being asked to compete with someone who has a doctoral degree. No mature regulator anywhere in the world imposes regulation on a player with no or minimal market share,” BIF president TV Ramachandran said.

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“Regulations are applied on mature players in competition, who have significant market share and can abuse it. Enterprises will not be in the business of selling services or earning revenues through private 5G networks, but only use it for self-consumption. The credibility and rationale of such claims are questionable and require introspection,” he added.

He referred to level playing field being demanded by telecom service providers as per which private networks should be liable to follow same rules and regulations as telcos concerning quality of service, security, enable lawful interception by enforcement agencies among others, while remaining completely isolated from commercial networks and that they should be set up only by end-user enterprises.

“The age-old and time-tested concept of level playing field cannot apply in the case of captive private 5G networks,” the forum said. It argued that the enterprise itself was the single end-user in a limited area and hence requiring upto 100 Mhz of spectrum, unlike a vast number of users in public networks in circle wide deployments for which telcos require 72000 Mhz of airwave units.

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It further argued that public networks were configured for delivering average performance for external voice and data connectivity, while private networks were meant to serve extremely high reliability and ultra-high service level agreements with extremely low latency applications and ultra-high data rates for machine-to-machine or M2M, Internet of Things or IoT, automation, industry 4.0, robotics et al.

“The quality of service requirements of captive private 5G networks are much more stringent owing to these extremely high SLAs and must be monitored and course-corrected by internal audit, and not through public audits by TERM cells of DoT,” the foruem added.

It added that such networks have to restrict power to a regulated level - just like Wi-Fi networks - to prevent signals spilling out of their premises.

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The suggestion that private networks should not be given spectrum in bands which are possible for telcos to use for offering services is also unjustified, as the telcos’ businesses depend on economies of scale, while that of enterprise businesses having private networks does not, it further stated.

“The spectrum that is earmarked for private networks needs to be exclusive and distinct from those bands for Public 5G, to avoid needless possibilities of interference between the two networks,” it noted.