COAI calls for govt support to telcos for 5G trials

The Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) has demanded that the government provide financial support to telecom companies for carrying out major trials of fifth generation (5G) tecom services.

In a recent letter to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), COAI said it must give instructions for allocation of spectrum for trials to telecom service providers and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners free of cost for the duration of the trial.
A high level 5G forum had, in its report submitted to the DoT August 2018, also emphasised the need for technology demonstration and major trials pertaining to 5G in India and planned across the globe, COAI noted in its letter dated 7 February.
"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. 
"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 ensure 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.
Besides, COAI has demanded that 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.
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.