DoT permits telcos to go ahead with 5G trials, Chinese vendors kept out

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Tuesday approved applications of telecom companies — Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and MTNL — for conducting 5G trials but none of them will be using technologies of Chinese entities.

The list of telecom gear makers approved for trials include Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, C-DOT and Reliance Jio’s indigenously developed technologies. This means that Chinese gear makers will not be part of the 5G trials.

“The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) approved today permissions to Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) for conducting trials for use and applications of 5G technology. The applicant TSPs include Bharti Airtel Ltd, Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd, Vodafone Idea Ltd and MTNL,” DoT said in a statement.

The latest move also indicates that the government may bar Chinese companies from participating in rolling out of the 5G services in the country.

The experimental spectrum is being given in various bands which include the mid-band (3.2 GHz to 3.67 GHz), millimetre 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 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.

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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