The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has permitted Telecom Service Providers (TSPs), including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Vodafone Idea, and MTNL, to conduct 5G trials in the country. These companies will tie up with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers — Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Development of Telematics (C-DoT).
Reliance Jio Infocomm already confirmed that it will be conducting trials using its own indigenous technology which it had announced at its 43rd AGM last year.
The Ministry of Communications also said that the duration of the trials is for six months, which includes a time period of two months for the procurement and setting up of the equipment. The permissions have been given by DoT as per the priorities and technology partners identified by TSPs themselves, said the ministry.
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). The service providers will also be permitted to use their existing spectrum (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2500 MHz) to conduct 5G trials.
The TSPs are encouraged to conduct trials using 5Gi technology which has been developed by the IIT Madras’ Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), and the IIT Hyderabad.
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. DoT has specified that the trials will be isolated and not connected with the existing networks of TSPs. Trials will be on 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.
Earlier this year Airtel demonstrated and orchestrate live 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad city. Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani back in December said that Jio will pioneer the 5G Revolution in India in the second half of 2021. With the start of 5G trials in the country, we can expect the 5G spectrum auction to begin in the coming months.