The provision of spectrum for private captive networks to develop innovative Industry 4.0 applications was one of the highlights of India's announcement of the planned auction of 5G spectrum, which is slated to happen on July 26 this year.
According to a government statement, there will be a total of 72 GHz of spectrum on offer.
The auction will offer frequencies in the 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 3,300 MHz and 26 GHz bands.
The government said the provision for private captive networks would spur the development of machine-to-machine communications, Internet of Things (IoT) applications and artificial intelligence (AI) applications across automotive, healthcare, agriculture, energy, and other sectors.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had earlier recommended about 39 percent reduction in price for the sale of the 5G spectrum for mobile services.
While no price reduction was announced, the government has relaxed the payment terms.
Bidding companies will not be required to make an upfront payment and would be able to settle their dues in 20 equal annual instalments in advance at the beginning of each year.
The bidders would also be given an option to surrender the spectrum after 10 years with no future liabilities with respect to balance instalments.
In its statement, the government noted that the availability of a sufficient backhaul spectrum is also necessary to enable the roll-out of 5G services.
To meet the backhaul demand, it has decided to provisionally allot two carriers of 250 MHz each in the E-band to the telecom service providers.
The government also decided to double the number of traditional microwave backhaul carriers in the existing frequency bands of 1300, 1500, 1800 and 2100 MHz.
An official document inviting applications for bidding said that big tech firms, for now, will be allowed to take on a lease 5G spectrum for their captive non-public networks.
It also mentions that the allocation of such spectrums to big tech companies will follow a demand study and TRAI's recommendation.