TSPs related to OEMs Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, C-DOT.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Tuesday authorized telecommunications service providers (TSPs) to conduct trials for the use and application of 5G technology.

This formally excludes Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE from the 5G race in India.

“Candidate TSPs include Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd., Vodafone Idea Ltd. and MTNL. These TSPs have linked up with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT, ”a statement from the communications ministry said. In addition, Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd. will also conduct trials using its own native technology.

The duration of the tests is six months, which includes a period of two months for the purchase and installation of the equipment. “The authorizations were granted by the DoT based on the priorities and technology partners identified by the TSPs themselves,” he said.

Each TSP will need to conduct trials in rural and semi-urban settings, in addition to urban settings, so that the benefits of 5G technology proliferate across the country and are not limited to urban areas, the statement said.

Noting that TSPs are encouraged to conduct trials using 5Gi technology in addition to the already known 5G technology, the statement said that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) also approved the 5Gi technology, which India advocated, because it facilitates a much wider range of 5G towers and radio networks. 5Gi technology was developed by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M), the Wireless Technology Center of Excellence (CEWiT) and IIT Hyderabad.

According to the ministry, the objectives of conducting the 5G trials include testing the propagation characteristics of the 5G spectrum in the Indian context, tuning the model and evaluating the selected equipment and suppliers, testing the native technology , testing applications such as telemedicine, tele-education, augmented reality, virtual reality and agricultural drone surveillance, and for testing 5G phones and devices.

With data from 5G technology, download rates are expected to be 10 times higher than 4G while providing spectral efficiency up to three times higher. Testing will be on a non-commercial basis and data generated during testing will be stored in India as per the statement.

In addition to the experimental spectrum given in various bands, TSPs are also allowed to use their existing spectrum to conduct the tests, the statement added.

The Cell Operators Association of India (COAI), in a statement, welcomed the green light for 5G trials. “This will stimulate local research and development [R&D] ecosystem to develop innovative applications tailored to business needs. It will enable TSPs to validate 5G technologies and use cases such as IoT and Industry 4.0. We hope the government will also consider the industry’s call to review the pricing of 5G spectrum, ”said Lieutenant General Dr SP Kochhar, Chief Executive Officer of IBOC.