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Department of Telecommunications, India Sets Up 5G Vertical Engagement and Partnership Programme

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has invited an expression of interest (EoI) for the 5G Vertical Engagement and Partnership Programme (VEPP). The initiative aims to foster strong collaborative partnerships across 5G use-case ecosystem stakeholders and address vertical industry needs. To multiply 5G opportunities in the field, the centre created an inter-ministerial committee that includes representatives from the ministries of electronics and information technology, science, agriculture, health, urban affairs, education, power, mines, commerce, ports, railways, heavy industries, road transport, and tourism. The committee will facilitate cooperative efforts across stakeholders, according to a government press release.

VEPP targets industry verticals that have the potential to be “testing cum breeding grounds for innovative 5G use cases” the release said. Through the EoI, the programme intends to boost collaborations between user verticals and 5G tech stakeholders, including service providers, solution providers, and partner original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The government expects this to trigger a multiplier effect, which will tweak 5G digital solutions in economic verticals.

The programme, in partnership with other ministries, state government departments, and start-up hubs, will facilitate the necessary approvals and regulatory clearances to enable use-case prototyping, pilots, demos, or trials at user or vertical industry premises. Required experimental spectrum would also be facilitated on a priority basis, the release added. Stakeholders that can apply include:

  • Individual vertical enterprise users or a group of enterprises (multiple verticals). For example, logistic hubs, factories, agri-institutions, hospitals, mining agencies, educational and skill development institutions, banking institutions, hotels, airports, and stadiums.
  • Service providers like telecom service providers (TSPs) and machine-to-machine (M2M) service providers.
  • Solution providers or system integrators(SIs) such as end-to-end use-case providers (including OEMs).
  • Solution partners/devices, sensors, and equipment vendors, including any start-up or small and medium-sized enterprise that has demonstrable use-cases and OEMs in network domains.

The role of a VEPP partner includes identifying a single point of contact (SPoC), ideating and collaborating with other ecosystem players for relevant 5G use-cases, and aiding access to relevant premises, campuses, or data for use-case piloting and prototyping. A partner can also hold vertical-specific hackathons to encourage digital innovations from new innovators and engage in any other actions that may be necessary to support the 5G ecosystem in the country, the release informed.

DoT will provide non-exclusive access to the 5G tech ecosystem (telecom service providers, solution providers, solution partners/device and equipment vendors) to enable partnerships. It will conduct awareness sessions on 5G opportunities at the National Telecommunications Institute for Policy Research, Innovation, and Training (NTIPRIT). DoT will facilitate experimental spectrums and ties with academia, including ensuring access to academia testbeds. It will set up live demonstrations of use-cases in telecom public networks and support collaborations with vertical ministries in the development of feasible regulatory policies. It will oversee the standardisation and interoperability of use-cases with support from the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) and the Centre for the Development of Telematics (C-DOT).

Last month, the Minister of State for Communications, Devusinh Chauhan, announced that 5G spectrum auctions would be conducted soon, and 5G services will commence before the end of the year. As OpenGov Asia reported, he stated that four companies had been allotted spectrum frequencies to conduct trials, which were in the final stages of completion.

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