In a move to fast-track 5G trials pan-India, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has prepared a plan to push telecom operators to also conduct trials of 5G technology in rural areas. The department has already given permission to the top telecom operators to conduct 5G technology trials in urban centers.
Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea have also been given trial spectrum for six months to test 5G technology in the country. According to top sources, the state-owned telecom firm MTNL is also likely to get a trial spectrum once it submits fees of Rs 5,000 required for the permission.
As per government sources, while the DoT will ask telecom operators to include a rural area for testing 5G applications along with their urban centers, the MTNL has teamed up with C-DoT for conducting 5G trials in Delhi.
Telecom operators have been allocated spectrum in 700 Mhz bands, 3.3-3.6 gigahertz (Ghz) band, and 24.25-28.5 GHz band across various locations. DoT has approved trials of 5G with Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and C-DOT, and has not approved any trial with Chinese vendors.
The trials will be conducted at various locations including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Gujarat, and Hyderabad. Bharti Airtel will conduct trials in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, and Jio applied for trials in Delhi, Mumbai, Gujarat, and Hyderabad.
During the trials, the application of 5G in Indian settings will get tested. This includes telemedicine, tele-education, and drone-based agriculture monitoring. Telecom operators will be able to test various 5G devices on their network.
The duration of the trials at present is 6 months. This includes a time period of 2 months for procurement and setting up of the equipment. According to DoT, 5G technology is expected to deliver 10 times better download speed than that of 4G and up to three times greater spectrum efficiency.