DoT permits telecom service providers to go ahead with 5G trials

The duration of the 5G trials is for a period of 6 months. This includes a time period of 2 months for procurement and setting up of the equipment.

The Indian 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. All of these TSPs have tied up with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and technology providers including Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT to develop their 5G infrastructure. Apart from these, Reliance Jio Infocomm will also be conducting 5G trials using its own indigenous technology, said an official statement.

The test permissions have been given to TSPs by the DoT as per the priorities and technology partners. The experimental spectrum is being given in various bands which includes mid-band (3.2 GHz to 3.67 GHz), millimetre wave band (24.25 GHz to 28.5 GHz) and the sub-Gigahertz band (700 GHz). TSPs will also be permitted to use their own existing spectrum including 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2500 MHz to conduct 5G trials.

The duration of the trials is for a period of 6 months. This includes a time period of 2 months for procurement and setting up of the equipment. The permission letters specify that 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.

The TSPs are encouraged to conduct trials using 5Gi technology in addition to the already known 5G technology. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has also 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 IIT Madras, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), and the IIT Hyderabad.

The Communications Ministry statement said that 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 and to test 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 ultra-low latency to enable Industry 4.0, it said. Applications are across a wide range of sectors such as agriculture, education, health, transport, traffic management, smart cities, smart homes, and multiple applications of IoT (Internet of Things).

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 and 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. One hundred applications or use cases selected by DoT after conducting the recent hackathon on 5G applications can also be facilitated in these trials, it said.

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