Indian transport and utility infrastructure firm Adani Group has announced its intention to bid for airwaves in the upcoming 5G spectrum auction with the aim of using the airwaves to provide private network solutions and enhanced cyber security for airport, ports and logistics, power generation, transmission, distribution, and various manufacturing operations, the Economic Times writes. Further, the spectrum would support the group’s own digital needs, a spokesperson noted, adding: ‘as we build our own digital platform encompassing super apps, edge data centres, and industry command and control centres, we will need ultra-high-quality data streaming capabilities through a high frequency and low latency 5G network across all businesses.’ Adani stressed, however, that it would not be entering the mobile market.
The announcement represents a significant blow to the nation’s mobile network operators (MNOs) as the inclusion of Adani in the bidding will not only increase competition for coveted spectrum resources, but also threaten the cellcos’ potential earnings from enterprise customers. The Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT’s) rules surrounding the establishment of private networks – referred to by the ministry as Captive Non-Public Networks (CNPNs) – have been a major concern for cellcos Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) and Vodafone Idea (Vi). The trio argue that the rules will encourage companies to acquire their own spectrum via administrative allocation and set up their own CNPNs, potentially wiping out one of the most lucrative areas for revenue generation from 5G services.