India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has given mobile service providers, including Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea (Vi), and MTNL, permission to start 5G trials in the country. These network providers will conduct 5G trials across India and will cover rural, semi-urban, and urban areas.
5G Trials in India
For conducting 5G trials, the aforesaid network operators will work with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). While Reliance will use its own indigenous technology for network trials, other telecom companies have teamed up with Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and C-DOT. Notably, none of these OEMs are from China. This also means that Huawei and ZTE are not involved in India’s 5G trials.
Telecom operators will conduct trials across different 5G bands, including mid-band (3.2 GHz to 3.67 GHz), millimeter-wave band (24.25 GHz to 28.5 GHz), and sub-Gigahertz band (700 GHz). The trials are set for 6 months. The 6-month timeline includes 2 months period for procurement and setting up of the equipment.
These trials will be isolated and not connected with existing networks. Moreover, it will be held on a non-commercial basis, and data generated during the trials will be stored in India. The ministry also expects telcos to test indigenously developed use cases and equipment as part of the trials.
“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,” DoT said in a press statement.
The government also urges telcos to conduct trials using 5Gi technology. Developed by IIT Madras, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), and IIT Hyderabad, the government claims that 5Gi “facilitates much larger reach of the 5G towers and Radio networks.”