State-owned Indian operator BSNL has apparently partnered Echelon Edge, a global information technology and system integration company. The aim? To set up private 5G networks.
Or at least to support this aim. The idea is that Echelon Edge will be able to provide private LTE and 5G services on the BSNL spectrum designated for captive networks.
The correct term, it appears, is captive non-public network provider. As a CNPNP, Echelon Edge will set up and maintain private networks for its customers in partnership with BSNL.
Echelon Edge has an expanding customer base across multiple industries that could benefit from 5G private networks designed specifically to meeting such customer needs as automation of operations and network security. According to the Indian Telecom Talk website, the partnership with BSNL will target customers in such sectors as mines, refineries, airports, office buildings and government infrastructure.
BSNL has also signed up homegrown system integration firm Amantya Technologies to set up private 5G networks.
Companies aiming to deploy private networks can lease spectrum from operators, most of which have bought spectrum suitable for private networks in the 26GHz band. They can also get it directly from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). And operators themselves can roll out private networks for businesses.
Of course BSNL is also working on 4G rollout at the moment. This 5G initiative is very different from 4G public services but still an interesting approach to finding new revenue streams for the cash-strapped operator.