With limited coverage of 4G in selected cities across India, we still haven’t fully figured out the full capabilities of the 4G network. But it’s not stopping Indian telecom operators from looking for the possible deployment of the next-generation 5G network. India’s top telecom operator Airtel and state-run telco BSNL has already in the forefront working with Nokia to transform existing networks to 5G.

Both telecom operators have already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) agreements with Nokia. The company is now working towards defining use cases around the 5G technology that will be relevant for the Indian market. If you are waiting to try out the 5G technology, then commercial launch will happen only around 2022 in India.

Thoughts behind these MoUs would be to introduce 5G here, and what are the steps required for the same, besides identifying applications to define the target segment, which will lead to a complete 5G strategy for telcos,” said Sanjay Malik, head of India market at Nokia, told ET.

Airtel and BSNL pushing towards 5G network, sign MoUs with Nokia

Nokia is currently working with BSNL on setting up the foundation for 5G. The company is also creating an experience centre along with research and development center in Bengaluru to try to discover stakeholder requirements for 5G in India. It also aims to push its efforts towards the new technology for India. India government planning to auction spectrum in bands over 3,000 MHz in 3.5 Ghz which is most apt for the 5G network roll out.

Ultra-broadband, reducing latency to milliseconds and to connect machine-to-machine and IoT devices are the three main growth drivers for 5G technology globally, and they are relevant to India as well,” he added.

Nokia is one of the big network contractors for Airtel, supplying 4G equipment for the telco’s network in nine telecom circle. The company recently emerged as the lowest bidder for BSNL’s phase-8 expansion. Currently, Nokia is working on an advanced purchase order (APO) for the state-run telecom operator.

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