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COAI urges govt to provide financial support to facilitate major 5G trials

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Industry body COAI has written to the Telecom Department saying financial support and subsidies should be provided to facilitate major 5G trials in India, and that permissions and fee on network equipment purchases need to be waived for the entire trial period.

The Telecom Department, it said, must give instructions for allocation of spectrum for trials to telecom service providers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) partners free of cost for the duration of the trial, the Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) said in the recent letter.

COAI noted that in line with the 5G trials being conducted and planned across the globe, the report released by the 5G high Level forum in August 2018 had also emphasised the need for technology demonstration and major trials pertaining to 5G in India.

This, it said, would help in raising awareness of 5G applications, stimulate the local R&D ecosystem to develop innovative applications tailored to Indian needs and help local telecom operators better understand the technology and business models for 5G amongst others.

COAI has said that Internet of Things (IoT) services should also be considered as part of the proposed trials, and that the operators should be allowed to choose their OEM partners independently, and select sites as per market dynamics and respective 5G strategies.

“DoT should support and facilitate stakeholders regarding the availability of site locations for 5G trials. DoT must provide financial support to all concerned stakeholders related to deployment – backhauls, site acquisition, civil works and trials manpower and related operational expenses…,” COAI said in the letter dated February 7, 2019.

The mobile association said that the government should provide requisite financial support and subsidies to facilitate the major 5G trials and subsequent penetration of 5G services in India. “For example, DoT (Department of Telecom) must issue instructions for allocation of spectrum for trials to the telecom service providers and OEM partners free of cost for the duration of the trial,” it said.

The stipulated permissions and charges related to network equipment purchase, and deployment, like import licence and custom fee, should be waived off for the entire period of the trial, it said.

“In addition, the concerned authorities should also waive off the charges to lay optical fibre cables to 5G sites and core locations for Gigabit connectivity,” COAI said adding that this would facilitate that trials are conducted in a smooth manner.

There should be a single point of contact for all related clearances, and DoT should facilitate all processes and clearances through digitally automated and paperless mechanism.

“E-band must be made available for the fronthaul/backhaul of trial network,” it added.

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