India on Tuesday decided to start 5G trials, avoiding all Chinese firms. Department of Telecom has allowed major telecom operators (TSP) like Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and MTNL to start 5G trials in different locations in rural, semi-urban and urban areas in collaboration with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers which are Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT. In addition, Reliance will also be conducting trials using its own indigenous technology. C-DOT (Centre for Development of Telematics) is a Government of India firm.
“The permissions have been given by DoT as per the priorities and technology partners identified by TSPs themselves. The experimental spectrum is being given in various bands which include the mid-band (3.2 GHz to 3.67 GHz), millimetre wave band (24.25 GHz to 28.5 GHz) and in Sub-Gigahertz band (700 GHz). TSPs will also be permitted to use their existing spectrum owned by them (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2500 MHz) for the conduct of 5G trials,” said the Department of Telecom (DoT) adding that the duration of the trials, at present, is for a period of 6 months. This includes a time period of 2 months for procurement and setting up of the equipment.
DoT has specified that the trials will be isolated and not connected with the existing networks of TSPs. Trials will be on a non-commercial basis.
The permission letters specify that each TSP will have to conduct trials in rural and semi-urban settings also in addition to urban settings so that the benefit of 5G Technology proliferates across the country and is not confined only to urban areas. The TSPs are encouraged to conduct trials using 5Gi technology in addition to the already known 5G Technology. It will be recalled that International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has also approved the 5Gi technology, which was advocated by India, as it facilitates a much larger reach of the 5G towers and Radio networks. The 5Gi technology has been developed by IIT Madras, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT) and IIT Hyderabad.
“The objectives of conducting 5G trials include testing 5G spectrum propagation characteristics especially in the Indian context; model tuning and evaluation of chosen equipment and vendors; testing of indigenous technology; testing of applications (such as telemedicine, tele-education, augmented/ virtual reality, drone-based agricultural monitoring, etc.); and to test 5G phones and devices.
“5G technology is expected to deliver improved user experience in terms of data download rates (expected to be 10 times that of 4G), up to three times greater spectrum efficiency, and ultra-low latency to enable Industry 4.0. Applications are across a wide range of sectors such as agriculture, education, health, transport, traffic management, smart cities, smart homes, and multiple applications of IoT (Internet of Things),” said DoT.
DoT has specified that the trials will be isolated and not connected with the existing networks of TSPs. Trials will be on a non-commercial basis. The data generated during the trials shall be stored in India. TSPs are also expected to facilitate the testing of the indigenously developed use cases and equipment as part of the trials. One hundred applications/ use cases selected by DoT after conducting the recent Hackathon on 5G applications can also be facilitated in these trials.
For the past two years, Chinese firms like Huawei and ZTE were lobbying in India for participation in the 5G trials. But after the tussle with China in the borders, the Government of India decided to avoid firms. Worldwide, many nations have avoided Chinese firms suspecting the presence of inbuilt Spywares in their equipment.
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