India is inching towards 5G rollout, as for the first phase, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expected to provide Indian telecom operators with spectrum starting this September for the purpose of carrying out 5G trails.
According to various media reports including CNBC-TV18, DoT officials are fast-tracking applications from Indian telcos and plans to provide the required spectrum by September. They have already simplified the testing process and providing spectrum for the testing purpose at a low fee of Rs 5000 per year. The original plan was to start 5G trials by March but got delayed due to the COVID-19 situation.
Once the spectrum is shared, telcos would need roughly six months of rigours testing of 5G devices technologies and solutions. However, this time frame would eventually increase due to the COVID-19 situation.
All eyes are on Reliance Jio, as the telco is seeking 5G spectrums to test its indigenously developed 5G network. The telco has applied for 800 megahertz (MHz) spectrum each in both the millimetre – 26 gigahertz (GHz), and 24 GHz wave mmWave bands as well as 100 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band. These are for field trials for its Made in India 5G technology, and the trails would happen in few metro cities across India.
Bharti Airtel, on the other hand, has partnered with telecom gear makers Samsung, Nokia, Huawei, and Ericsson to conduct 5G trials. Whereas, Vodafone Idea will join hands with the same four telecom gear makers to conduct trails.
It to be noted, that DoT is said to be pushing Indian telcos to exclude Chinese telecom gear makers, especially Huawei and ZTE from participating in 5G trials. According to Bloomberg, India government plans to apply the investment rules it amended on July 23 which restrict bidders from nations that share a common border with India to these companies (mainly Chinese companies), because of national security.