India's Department of Telecommunications has given telecom service providers the green light for conducting 5G trials.
India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has given telecom service providers (TSPs) the green light for conducting 5G trials. The applicant TSPs include Bharti Airtel Ltd, Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd and MTNL. These TSPs have tied up with OEMs and technology providers, including Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and C-DOT. In addition, Reliance JioInfocomm will also be conducting trials using its own indigenous technology.
The permissions have been given by DoT as per the priorities and technology partners identified by TSPs themselves. The experimental spectrum is being given in various bands, which include the mid-band (3.2GHz to 3.67GHz), millimeter wave band (24.25GHz to 28.5GHz) and in sub-gigahertz band (700GHz). TSPs will also be permitted to use their existing spectrum owned by them (800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2500MHz) for conducting 5G trials.
For now, the duration of the trials is for a period of six months. This includes a time period of two 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. It will be recalled that 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 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 tele-medicine, tele-education, augmented/virtual reality, drone-based agricultural monitoring); 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. 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. 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/use cases selected by DoT after conducting the recent Hackathon on 5G applications can also be facilitated in these trials.