The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has permitted telecom service providers (TSPs), including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio-Info-comm, Vodafone Idea, and MTNL, to conduct 5G trials, leaving out Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE from the 5G race in India.
The experimental spectrum is being given in various bands which include the mid-band (3.2 GHz to 3.67 GHz), millimeter 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 conduct of 5G trials.
The Indian based telecom service providers will also be permitted to use their existing spectrum (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2500 MHz) for conduct of 5G trials.
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.
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.
According to a statement released by the Department of Telecommunications, the TSPs shall be encouraged in conducting trials using 5Gi technology in addition to the already known 5G technology. It also revealed that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has approved the 5Gi technology, which was advocated by India, as it facilitates much larger reach of the 5G towers and radio networks.
The 5Gi technology has been developed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M), 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.
With 5G technology data, download rates are expected to be 10 times that of 4G while giving up to three times greater spectrum efficiency.
The trials will be on a non-commercial basis and the data generated during the trials will be stored in India.
In addition to the experimental spectrum being given in various bands, TSPs are also be permitted to use their existing spectrum for conducting the trials.
The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), in the released statement, welcomed the go-ahead for the 5G trials.
Lt. Gen. Dr. SP Kochhar, Director-General, COAI, said that the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) will invigorate the local Research and Development [R&D] ecosystem for developing innovative applications tailored to commercial needs. It will enable TSPs to validate 5G technologies and use cases such as IoT and Industry 4.0. He also adds into the statement expecting the government also to look after the industry’s call for revisiting the 5G spectrum pricing.