Department of Telecommunications approves 5G Technology and Spectrum trialsThe Department of Telecommunications (DoT), government of India, approved permissions to Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) for conducting trials for use and applications of 5G technology.

The applicants of TSPs include Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Vodafone Idea and MTNL. These TSPs have tiedup with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers which are Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT.

In addition, Reliance Jio Infocomm will also be conducting trials using its own indigenous technology. The permissions have been given by DoT as per the priorities and technology partners identified by TSPs themselves.

The experimental spectrum is being given in various bands which include the mid-band (3.2 GHz to 3.67 GHz), millimeter wave band (24.25 GHz to 28.5 GHz) and in sub-Gigahertz band (700 GHz). TSPs will also be permitted to use their existing spectrum owned by them (800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2500 MHz) for conduct of 5G trials.

The duration of the trials, at present, is for a period of six months. This includes a time period of two 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 IIT Hyderabad.

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 such as telemedicine, tele-education, augmented/virtual reality, drone-based agricultural monitoring, etcand to test 5G phones and devices.

DoT has specified that the trials will be isolated and not connected with the existing networks of the TSPs. Also, trials will be on non-commercial basis and data generated during the trials will be stored in India.

The TSPs are also expected to facilitate the testing of the indigenously developed use cases and equipment as part of the trials. As many as 100 applications/ use cases selected by DoT after conducting the recent Hackathon on 5G applications can also be facilitated in these trials.

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