COAI shares key priorities for telecom sector's robust growth

by IANS |

New Delhi, June 12 (IANS) The Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) on Wednesday shared key priorities for the telecom industry that it wishes the government to address and help the sector achieve its goals.

According to the industry body, the availability of 6 GHz mid-band spectrum is crucial to expand the 5G networks, especially the IMT (mobility services) in the country.

"Unfortunately in the last spectrum auction, we could get only 800 MHz, so to fulfil the requirement, we need to get 1200 MHz from the 6GHz range. A recent report by GSMA says that India can save as much as $10 billion annually in 5G network deployment through the use of 6 GHz spectrum," said Lt Gen Dr SP Kochhar, Director General, COAI.

With the anticipated spectrum auction for 5G by June end, the industry body requested the government to address the industry's longstanding issues about spectrum pricing and related revenue concerns.

It also urged the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to revisit the spectrum pricing recommendation, in line with global norms.

"We also request TRAI to do away with the minimum rollout obligations, giving telecom service providers (TSPs) the freedom to decide the rollout strategy upon acquiring the spectrum," said the industry body.

The (TSPs) in India have been requesting the regulatory authorities to implement a fair share data network usage policy, wherein the large traffic generators (LTGs) pay a share of their revenue with TSPs who provide the complete infrastructure for their data requirements.

The ICT manufacturing landscape in India has undergone a dramatic shift over the past decade, owing to the initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The PLI scheme for telecom and networking products worth Rs 12,195 crore and its amendment in June 2022 to introduce a Design-led manufacturing scheme with additional incentives of more than $533.33 million are clear mandates indicating the government's progressive approach to core manufacturing.

"However, there are challenges which need prior attention. In telecom manufacturing, the challenges associated with testing and certification of the equipment are crucial to ensure the safety and security of 5G infrastructure in the country," said the COAI.

The industry body also requested the government to increase the number of test labs to support the testing of a massive volume of products and provide exemption on Customs duties for products that enter India for testing and certification temporarily.

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