After Jio boasting about its 5G plans and how it is indigenously developing all of the components in India, its fiercest rival Airtel has announced that it has successfully conducted live 5G tests in the country. Airtel boasts that it is India’s first telecom giant to demonstrate & orchestrate “LIVE 5G service” over a commercial network in Hyderabad.
Now, you must be thinking, how is it possible when the 5G spectrum auction is yet to take place? What frequency band did Airtel use? In an official press release, Airtel has revealed that it used a spectrum block in the 1800MHz band. It used NSA (Non-Standalone) technology to “seamlessly operate 5G and 4G [networks] concurrently within the same spectrum block” in Hyderabad. The telco utilized “a first of its kind, dynamic spectrum sharing” system to achieve this milestone.
During the test, the company adds that users in Hyderabad were able to download a full-length movie within a few seconds on a 5G network. Thus, the test underlined not only the technology but also “validated the 5G readiness of Airtel’s network across all domains – Radio, Core and Transport,” as per the press release.
For the past 25 years Airtel has led India’s digital transformation & today we are proud to become the first telecom company in India to successfully demonstrate LIVE #5G services over a commercial network in the city of Hyderabad. #Airtel5GReady pic.twitter.com/Vx7rSAXNty
— airtel India (@airtelindia) January 28, 2021
“With Airtel being the first operator to demonstrate this capability, we have shown again that we have always been the first in India to pioneer new technologies in our quest for empowering Indians everywhere,” stated Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel in the press release.
The telecom giant did not reveal the speeds achieved over its 5G network. But, it adds that the 5G technology is capable of delivering “10 times the speed, latency, and 100 times concurrency” in comparison to current-gen 4G technologies. Airtel further adds that it’s ready to roll out 5G services and is now waiting on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to permit the use of the 5G spectrum.
“The full impact of the 5G experience, however, will be available to our customers, when adequate spectrum is available and government approvals received,” mentions Airtel. In addition, Reliance Jio is also gearing up to roll out 5G services across India in the second half of 2021. It has tested its 5G network in partnership with Qualcomm in the US.