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Indian Government harmonising spectrum for 5G services

Indian media outlet, NDTV, reported that the Indian Government is in the process of harmonising spectrum for 5G services. Telecom Secretary, Ms Aruna Sundararajan, was quoted saying at the Mobile World Congress that the bands being harmonised are in the line with the global community.

5th generation wireless systems or 5G is expected to have the capacity to address the demands and requirements of mobile communication beyond 2020. It will support significantly faster mobile broadband speeds and would help realise the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) supporting applications such as autonomous cars and virtual reality as well as a range of smart city enablers.

The speed, reach and quality of 5G services will depend on governments and regulators enabling access to the right amount and type of spectrum.

According the NDTV report, the Department of Telecom is harmonising spectrum in the 3500MHz band and 26GHz band, along with E-band (71-76 GHz and 81-86 Ghz) and V-band (57-64 GHz) spectrum. Spectrum in the E-band and V-band can provide multigigabit throughput for short to medium distances. With an increase in the deployment of small cells (portable miniature base stations that require minimal power to operate and are placed at short distance intervals) for 5G, these bands can be used as to build wireless backhaul solutions for provide base station connectivity.

NDTV also reported that the government has already harmonised spectrum in the 700MHz band which can be used for 5G services.

The Government hasn’t yet decided on the timeline for spectrum auction for 5G and it will take its decisions on the basis of recommendations to be submitted by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

The Indian Government has plans to roll out 5G by 2020. In September 2017, the Government constituted a high level forum on 5G with three Secretaries of key Ministries/Departments – Department of Telecom (DoT), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST). The forum also included experts like Dr A. Paulraj, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University; Mr Gururaj Deshpande - Chairman of Sycamore Networks; Indian ICT industry CEOs, Telecom Standard Development Organisation of India (TSDSI), Professors from India Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, IIT Mumbai, IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru, and stakeholders from industry associations.

The terms of reference for the forum included setting the vision mission and goals for the 5G India 2020, and evaluation and approval of roadmaps & action plans for the same. The objective is to build a vibrant eco-system of research built around 5G, that encompasses Industry, Government and Academia in line with the Make (& Design) in India initiatives.

Recently, it was announced that DoT will support the establishment of an indigenous 5G Test Bed at IIT Madras.

Meanwhile, Ericsson is setting up a Centre of Excellence & Incubation Centre with a 5G test bed at IIT Delhi. The first series of tests under this program are due to begin in the second half of 2017.

According to recent news reports, Ericsson is ready to offer its 5G-ready network solutions to Indian telcos by mid-2019, if compatible 5G spectrum in the 3300-3600 MHz bands is made available. Ericsson is also working with leading telecom operator, Bharti Airtel for 5G development.

The Hindu newspaper reported that Bharti Airtel and Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturing giant, Huawei, successfully conducted India’s first 5G network trial in February 2018.  A user throughput of over 3 Gbps was achieved, with end-to-end network latency of approximately 1 msec. According to Huawei, this was the highest measured throughput for a mobile network in 3.5 GHz band with 100MHz bandwidth.

Nokia is partnering Bharti Airtel and state-run telco, BSNL, to prepare a roadmap for the development of 5G network in India. Nokia has also set up a 5G IoT lab in Bengaluru.

Last year, the Indian Government’s Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), developed a common service platform for Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, which is compliant with oneM2M standards (OneM2M is a global partnership among Standards Defining Organizations and Industry Associations from Europe, US, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, India and others for M2M and IoT standards). This would help in the deployment of IoT applications on 5G networks.

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