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India Boosts 5G/ORAN Testing Ecosystem Through Public-Private Partnership

Image credit: DoT_India; Twitter

The Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), a technical arm of the Department of Telecommunications, signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with an Indian product engineering and manufacturing company that works in 5G, networking and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The MoU will facilitate registered start-ups, innovators, and MSMEs working in Open Radio Access Network (RAN) to test their products at the company’s existing labs for interoperability among ORAN components from different vendors. Components include the (remote) radio unit (RRU/RU), distributed unit (DU), and central unit (CU). Start-ups can also use the labs for radio conformance, protocol, and interface testing. Facilities will be offered at a subsidised tariff, which will be decided by both the MoU partners, a press release wrote. The products offered for testing will be certified by TEC.

The testing certification will accelerate research, innovation, and domestic design and manufacturing. India aims to be a front-runner in 5G and ORAN, and this test certification ecosystem is expected to make the country a leading design, testing, and certification hub in Asia.

In April, the Department of Telecommunications invited expressions of interest (EoI) for the 5G Vertical Engagement and Partnership Programme (VEPP). The initiative aims to foster strong collaborative partnerships across 5G use-case ecosystem stakeholders and address vertical industry needs. The centre also created an inter-ministerial committee comprising representatives from several ministries, including electronics and information technology, agriculture, health, and education.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, VEPP targets industry verticals that have the potential to be testing/breeding grounds for innovative 5G use cases. Through the EoI, the programme will boost collaborations between user verticals and 5G tech stakeholders, including service providers, solution providers, and partner original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The government expects this to trigger a multiplier effect, which will tweak 5G digital solutions in economic verticals.

The programme will organise the necessary approvals and regulatory clearances to enable use-case prototyping, pilots, demos, or trials at the user or vertical industry premises. Required experimental spectrum would also be facilitated on a priority basis. The role of a VEPP partner includes identifying a single point of contact (SPoC), ideating, and collaborating with other ecosystem players for relevant 5G use-cases, and aiding access to relevant premises, campuses, or data for use-case piloting and prototyping. A partner can also hold vertical-specific hackathons to encourage digital innovations from new innovators and engage in any other actions that may be necessary to support the 5G ecosystem in the country.

DoT will provide non-exclusive access to the 5G tech ecosystem (telecom service providers, solution providers, solution partners/device and equipment vendors) to foster partnerships. It will conduct awareness sessions on 5G opportunities at the National Telecommunications Institute for Policy Research, Innovation, and Training (NTIPRIT). DoT will facilitate experimental spectrums and ties with academia, including ensuring access to academia testbeds. It will set up live demonstrations of use-cases in telecom public networks and support collaborations with vertical ministries in the development of feasible regulatory policies. It will also oversee the standardisation and interoperability of use-cases with support from TEC and the Centre for the Development of Telematics (C-DOT).

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