COAI Welcomes India’s New Guidelines on 5G Network Deployment

COAI has applauded the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for its progressive approach with the introduction of the The Indian Telegraph Right of Way (Amendment) Rules, 2023. This move is aimed at boosting the 5G ecosystem and expanding digital connectivity throughout India.
Samsung 5G small cells for networkThe June 2023 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report shows 5G subscriptions in India reached about 10 million by end of 2022 and are estimated to account for about 57 percent of mobile subscriptions in the country by the end of 2028, making it the fastest growing 5G region globally.

Building on earlier amendments made in 2017, 2021, and 2022, the amendments continue to facilitate the development of robust telecom infrastructure across the country. These changes are part of the Indian government’s broader efforts to improve the business environment in the telecommunications sector, enabling faster network expansion and maintenance.

One of the key provisions of the latest amendment allows telecom licensees to establish temporary overground telegraph infrastructure in cases where their existing underground infrastructure is damaged. This crucial alteration ensures the swift restoration of telegraph services, preventing major disruptions for users. Additionally, the government has stipulated that no fees will be charged by the appropriate authority for setting up this temporary infrastructure.

Moreover, the amendment brings much-needed clarity to the definition of “Street Furniture.” This term now encompasses structures such as utility poles, traffic lights, streetlights, and more, all of which can be established on the property of an appropriate authority. This clarification streamlines network deployment procedures, leading to more efficient and rapid rollouts.

According to the new rules, licensees are permitted to submit a single application for multiple sites to establish small cells, further simplifying administrative processes. Central government entities are also authorized to deploy small cells on their buildings and structures without incurring administrative fees, except for charges related to power and fixtures provided by building owners.

SP Kochhar, Director General of COAI (the Cellular Operators Association of India), commended the DoT’s initiative, emphasizing its positive impact on the telecom industry and the nation’s digital connectivity. He highlighted the advantages of the amendments, such as the rapid reinstatement of networks after underground infrastructure damage, the expedited rollout of 5G through existing infrastructure, streamlined application procedures for small cell sites, and the allocation of central government areas for small cell deployment at no cost.

Last year, Indian government introduced the The Indian Telegraph Right of Way (Amendment) Rules, 2022, to accelerate the proliferation of digital infrastructure, the deployment of small cells, aerial fiber, and street furniture within the telecommunications sector.

The Ericsson Mobility report said 5G subscriptions in India are expected to reach 700 million and are estimated to account for 57 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region by the end of 2028. Average data traffic per smartphone is projected to grow from 26 GB per month in 2022 to around 62 GB per month in 2028 – a CAGR of 16 percent. Total mobile data traffic is estimated to grow from 18 EB per month in 2022 to 58 EB per month in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 22 percent.