L&T Tech to directly obtain captive 5G spectrum, deploy solutions for parents

L&T Technology Services has become the first technology company to publicly express interest in direct government allocation of spectrum to captive 5G networks.

It will get spectrum to set up a private 5G network to create use cases for the technology, chief executive Amit Chadha told ET. Apart from this, the engineering services and research and development company will also deploy 5G solutions globally for parent company Larsen & Toubro.

India recently released rules allowing non-telecom companies to acquire spectrum directly from the telecom department for setting up private 5G networks.

“We have already requested 5G spectrum for our Mysore campus. We are creating use cases in medical emergencies and remote operating procedures… In plant engineering, we are implementing reliable operations and a proactive maintenance planning. The third is defence-related. We have also set up a device test lab in Bangalore and Dallas and are in the process of setting up one for discrete manufacturing in Munich,” said Chadha, who is also its chief executive, told ET.

The company has partnered with network software provider Mavenir to provide 5G automation services and rapid integration of open radio access network products with which they will be marketed together.

The company welcomed the government’s decision to allow 5G for private companies, but called for changes to the rules, such as allowing the same 5G network to be deployed in multiple locations. Additionally, the inability to connect the 5G spectrum that companies obtain to the internet must be changed to provide app-as-a-service or lab-as-a-service offerings, Chadha said.

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The company will also undertake the deployment of the technology in the premises of L&T,
Chadha said. Other tech companies in the group – and L&T Infotech – have indicated that they are not keen on obtaining private 5G spectrum.

Under the regulation of private 5G networks announced last month, the Department of Telecommunications will undertake demand studies and then seek recommendations from India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority before allocating the spectrum. The department will not charge license or entry fees for spectrum allocation to companies for connecting their facilities, and will only levy a nominal processing fee of Rs 50,000.

This has led to a standoff between tech and telecom companies, with the latter signaling concerns over a potential loss of 5G enterprise revenue and claiming it would create uncertainty over the viability of their 5G offerings.

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