Telecom Secretary Opens Door for 100 5G Labs at IIT Madras

India's DoT eases licensing for universities in the "100 5G Labs" program. This online system aims to speed up approvals for research centers focusing on 5G development, boosting innovation across Indian universities

Rashi Grover
New Update
Image depicting the utilization of 5G technology for improved connectivity and faster internet speeds.

The image is a close-up of a key with the content "5G."



The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) of India introduced a simplified licensing program for the "100 5G Labs" initiative. This initiative, announced in the 2023-24 budget, aims to establish 100 experimental laboratories across Indian educational institutions to promote research and development (R&D) in 5G technologies.


Previously, obtaining an experimental license for operating a 5G lab involved a complex application process. The new "Experimental Licence Module for 100 5G Labs" seeks to address these challenges by streamlining the process.



These laboratories will utilize 5G frequency bands for conducting experiments and testing different use cases. 

Therefore, they are required to acquire the Experimental (Non-Radiating) category license from the Department of Telecommunications to guarantee interference-free operations with licensed Telecommunication Service Providers (TSPs). 


Currently, this license is being issued through the Saral Sanchar portal of the DoT via the National Single Window System (NSWS) in a "Self-declaration Mode." 

Since its introduction on the Saral Sanchar portal in July 2021, approximately 1500 licenses have been issued.



This initiative has mainly been introduced to accelerate the development of 5G technology in India and to tackle the traditional hurdles of license acquisition with several key features.

Firstly, universities can submit applications electronically through a dedicated online portal. This eliminates the need for paper-based applications, often prone to delays and errors during data entry. The online system can also streamline the initial processing stage and potentially offer universities tracking features to monitor the status of their applications.

Secondly, a significant feature is the self-declaration process. Universities can self-declare their adherence to predefined regulations and safety standards. 


This reduces the need for extensive government verification, potentially leading to faster approvals for universities that are well-prepared. 

By taking ownership of compliance, universities foster a sense of responsibility and accountability. 

The online system may require robust features for universities to upload supporting documents that verify their self-declarations.



The program also aims to minimize administrative burdens on both universities and the DoT by streamlining procedures and eliminating unnecessary steps. 

This "reduced bureaucracy" allows universities to dedicate more resources towards crucial research and development activities in the field of 5G. 



Additionally, the program may involve clearly defined timelines for processing applications, providing universities with a clearer picture of the timeframe for obtaining their licenses.


Finally, the program prioritizes transparency and accessibility. The online portal offers clear guidelines and standardized procedures for obtaining licenses. This ensures that all participating universities have a transparent understanding of the licensing requirements.


Easy access to information through the portal can potentially reduce confusion and delays for universities navigating the licensing process. 

The portal may also include FAQs, help sections, or contact information for universities seeking additional support.


In essence, the Streamlined Licensing Program is a multi-pronged approach aimed at expediting the licensing process for universities involved in India's "100 5G Labs" initiative. 


By leveraging online systems, self-declaration, and a focus on efficiency, the program strives to create a faster and more user-friendly environment, ultimately fostering a faster pace of innovation in 5G research within Indian academic institutions.


In conclusion, the "100 5G Labs" initiative, coupled with the streamlined licensing program, signifies a significant push towards India's 5G ambitions. 

This strategic move has the potential to position India as a frontrunner in 5G development by fostering a vibrant ecosystem of academic research and startup innovation. 

By facilitating the development and testing of cutting-edge 5G applications, this initiative paves the way for India to emerge as a key player in the global 5G landscape.