The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Tuesday allowed mobile operators to conduct 5G trials in the country with equipment manufacturers they have tied up with, barring Chinese companies.
The Central government has allowed telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Vodafone Idea, and MTNL to conduct trials for uses and applications of 5G technology, an official statement said.
These service providers have tied up with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers such as Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and the C-DoT.
In addition, Reliance Jio Infocomm will be conducting trials using its own technology. The permissions are in accordance with the priorities and the names of technology partners identified by the companies themselves.
“Nokia India welcomes the government’s decision to conduct trials including in rural and semi-urban areas, aligned with the long-term vision of a Digital India. We are confident of our readiness to support our customers in implementing 5G strategy with the advantage of our technology leadership, our experience in serving customers globally, and our initiatives in India including 5G manufacturing in Chennai,” the Nokia India spokesperson said.
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 sub-gigahertz band (700 GHz).
“It will stimulate the local R&D ecosystem to develop innovative applications tailored to commercial needs. It will enable TSPs (telecom service providers) to validate 5G technologies and use cases such as IoT and Industry 4.0. We hope the government will also look into the industry’s call for revisiting the 5G spectrum pricing,” said S P Kochhar, director general, Cellular Operators’ Association of India.
The operators will also be permitted to use their existing spectrum (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2500 MHz) for conducting 5G trials.
The duration of the trials at present is six months. This includes two months needed for procuring and setting up the equipment.
The government has told the telecom service providers to conduct trials in rural and semi-urban settings in addition to urban areas.
The objectives of conducting 5G trials include testing 5G spectrum propagation characteristics, especially in the Indian context; model tuning and evaluating chosen equipment and vendors; and testing indigenous technology, applications (such as tele-medicine, tele-education, augmented/virtual reality, and drone-based agricultural monitoring), and 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 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 the Internet of Things. The DoT has said the trials will be isolated and not connected with the existing networks of telecom companies. Trials will not be commercial and the data generated will be stored in India.