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    Here’s what the Telcos want from the new Government: Fair share, delicensing of 6GHz spectrum, and more

    The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has reiterated its demand for a fair share agreement between telcos and over-the-top (OTT) service providers in its recommendations for the new Government. In a press release reviewed by MediaNama, COAI stated that large traffic generators (LTGs, OTT platforms that generate a large amount of traffic) cause a loss of Rs.10,000 crore to the national exchequer.

    It explained that this loss is expected to increase in the coming years, especially with the emergence of newer AI applications and technologies, such as video optimization on OTT streaming platforms.

    COAI also mentioned that the rapid surge in data over telecom networks has put tremendous pressure on the networks, leading to severe QoS issues and drastically impacting TSPs’ customer experience. Interestingly, while the industry body suggests that OTTs put pressure on telecom networks, a recent comment by one of its members, Reliance Jio, in response to a consultation suggests otherwise. 

    Responding to the telecom regulator’s consultation paper on the National Broadcasting Policy, Jio said that cellular mobile networks have video traffic and that after the launch of 5G, telcos have built sufficient capacity on their networks to handle video traffic even in worst-case scenarios (when all subscribers are simultaneously watching video content in good quality). This implies that telcos should be able to handle the data usage caused by LTGs. 

    Other notable recommendations by COAI:

    Use of 6GHz spectrum by telcos:

    COAI says that the availability of 6GHz spectrum is crucial for 5G networks, especially for International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT) services.  A recent report by GSMA says that India can save as much as $10 billion annually in 5G network deployment through the use of 6 GHz spectrum, the industry body argues. It also urges the government to plan the 6 GHz resources for 6G as well. The industry body has previously argued against the delicensing of the 6GHz spectrum, saying that it would negatively affect the speed and affordability of 5G internet.

    It must be mentioned that the Broadband India Forum (BIF) has previously disputed the allocation of this spectrum band for 5G. It says that 5G has already been assigned sufficient spectrum in several other spectrum bands. BIF has emphasized that the 6GHz spectrum band is not used for 5G deployment anywhere in the world. 5G is required to be deployed in globally harmonized spectrum bands for optimal use, and the 6Ghz spectrum band is not one such band. Instead of allocating this spectrum for 5G, BIF suggests that this spectrum band should be delicensed, arguing that it can help with bandwidth-hungry applications like the metaverse, augmented reality, and virtual reality. 

    Improving data utility for AI systems:

    COAI explains that for generative artificial intelligence (AI), implementing a structured input process or “template approach” is key to improving the utility of data. It says that embedded AI systems can be used to collect data “using a standardized template formulated by the government, ensuring uniformity and quality across diverse data sources”. Simply put, COAI suggested that raw data can be structured through the use of embedded AI systems (which follow a data processing template proposed by the government) and converted into trend-based data sets. It argues that through this process, raw data can be tailored to the Indian context.

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    The post Here’s what the Telcos want from the new Government: Fair share, delicensing of 6GHz spectrum, and more appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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