French IT company Capgemini joined the ongoing debate around reserving 5G spectrum for captive network usage by enterprises by saying that such a move, if allowed, will give companies “better control” over their plans and operations and reduce their dependence on telecom operators.
Monika Gupta, Vice President, Group 5G & Edge lead for Industries & Partnerships at Capgemini, said that industries have very specific requirements around safety, security, and data protection, which is not really possible through a macro network by a telecom operator.
“So, a 5G private network is one solution which ensures that all the data with the connectivity which is there in the particular enterprise campus stays within the campus and doesn’t go out,” she was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.
Gupta, however, added that telecom operators would continue to play a crucial role for enterprises even if the Indian government reserves spectrum for captive use.
Gupta further added that 5G connectivity is not enterprises’ core competency, and telcos will always have a role and some contribution to make in this irrespective of whether they own the spectrum or the spectrum is with the industry.
“The adoption of 5G for industries is an ecosystem play “I don’t see the situation where the telcos will not be working with the industry in facilitating that. The industry will use 5G as a connectivity, and it’s just not 5G, it is with hybrid cloud, edge computing, IoT, and all other technologies together,” she told the publication.
The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), which represents Indian IT services companies, along with Indian FMCG conglomerate ITC and other enterprises, recently urged the telecom regulator, TRAI, to earmark spectrum for private networks or non-public networks, which enterprise service providers in India can use. They opposed any move to allow telcos to lease spectrum to enterprises for running their private networks.
They demanded that 5G spectrum be reserved for enterprises at a nominal cost, allowing companies such as itself to control and deploy private networks.
5G private networks have brought the industrial revolution to enable industries to deploy a plethora of industry-specific use cases. Enterprises have said that it was necessary to try out these use cases in a controlled environment first, even for early adopters, to validate their profitability and feasibility.
Through their submissions to the regulator, all three private telecom operators – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – strongly opposed any move to allot spectrum to enterprises for 5G captive networks. They said that only operators should get licensed spectrum and are best placed to set up 5G networks for enterprises through network slicing, a key use case of the 5G technology.
Indian telecom operators expect 5G for enterprise service to be a significant revenue driver.
Capgemini, as per Gupta, is working with various industries, including global multinational companies that have large research and development (R&D) presence, IT hubs and operations in India.
The French company recently entered into a strategic partnership with India’s second-largest telco, Bharti Airtel, to develop 5G use cases for enterprises.
“…two of our use cases have actually been deployed in Airtel Manesar’s lab,” she was quoted as saying.
Capgemini recently opened a 5G lab in a strategic partnership with Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson to test enterprise use cases. The company, which has similar labs in Paris and Portugal, plans to set up a new lab in the US.
“All of these labs are primarily industry-focused labs. With the industry focus lab, we are primarily experimenting with the application of 5G into industrial operations. So these labs actually replicate a lab environment of an enterprise architecture and 5G becomes an integral connectivity piece in that architecture,” she informed.