Indian carriers Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and BSNL have submitted their applications for 5G field trials with the Department of Telecom (DoT), The Economic Times reported.
According to the report, Vodafone Idea and Airtel have submitted their applications with Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and ZTE, while Reliance Jio has submitted an application for a 5G field trial with Samsung Electronics.
State-run telco BSNL announced it planned to carry out a 5G trial with ZTE. The last date to submit applications for trials was yesterday.
“Telcos have asked for spectrum in mid-band, millimeter-wave band and anchor 4G band to conduct 5G field trials,” a person familiar with the matter reportedly said, adding that the telecom department intends to start 5G trials next month.
“Huawei will work with Vodafone Idea and Airtel in Delhi and Bangalore, respectively for 5G trials. Samsung and Jio will do the trial in Mumbai. Nokia and Ericsson will have similar arrangements with both Vodafone Idea and Airtel for trials,” the source added.
“We are pleased that these trials are commencing as we try to catch up with other markets. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has been working with telcos and the vendor community for the trials. The DoT wants to to start trials as soon as possible and will review applications for compliance. There is a keen interest to conduct trials from everyone,” Rajan Mathews, director general of COAI reportedly said.
“All telcos have also submitted details of use cases that they intend to do such as fixed wireless access and enhanced mobile broadband along with some other global 5G use cases that are being developed,” another source with knowledge of the matter said.
Once the requests are approved, the DoT will allocate the trial spectrum to the carriers.
India’s 5G trials were initially scheduled to take place early last year but had been postponed due to controversies over pricing and trial conditions.
The government has recently decided to allow all network equipment makers, including Huawei and ZTE, to participate in 5G trials. The U.S. government has been been pressuring its allies and friendly countries, including India, to bar Huawei from 5G deployments, due to security concerns.
India’s Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan said the Indian government would put the necessary safeguards in place before allowing companies to deploy 5G technology and access the core networks. “We have asked … or rather Huawei has applied to us for participating in the trials, that is different from deployment,” she said.
The secretary said that the DoT aims to utilize the opportunity to understand Huawei’s architecture and to what extent it would comply with core telecom networks in the country.
Earlier this month, the Indian government confirmed that it is not currently studying any proposal to ban telecom gear and equipment made by Huawei.
According to previous reports, India expects to award spectrum for the provision of 5G in March or April this year. The auction will include the sale of almost 8300 megahertz of airwaves, including 5G spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band and 4G spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.
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