Blocking entry of Chinese technology giants in the 5G trials, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has permitted only five telecom service providers (TSPs), including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Vodafone Idea and MTNL, to conduct 5G trials in India.
Besides blocking the Chinese tech company, the department has also ensured that no Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer participates in the trial. The selected telecom service providers will only tie-up with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers including Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT.
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio Infocomm will also be conducting trials using its own indigenous technology. The permissions have been given by the 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 (3.2 GHz to 3.67 GHz), millimeter-wave band (24.25 GHz to 28.5 GHz) and in sub-Gigahertz band (700 GHz).
The TSPs will also be permitted to use their existing spectrum (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2500 MHz) for the conduct of 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.
According to the permission letters, 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.
These TSPs are also 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 a 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 in a 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 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.
According to DoT, the trials will be isolated and not connected with the existing networks of TSPs. Trials will be on a 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.