Govt. gives nod for 5G trials; Chinese tech giants left out

#GS3 #5G TRIALS #TECHNOLOGY 

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Context:

  • Telcos tie up with Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT
  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Tuesday gave permission to Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to conduct trials for the use and application of 5G technology. This formally leaves out Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE from the 5G race in India.

TSPs which received the permissions are:

  • The applicant TSPs include Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd., Vodafone Idea Ltd. and MTNL. These TSPs have tied up with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers, which are Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT
  • In addition, Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd. will also be conducting trials using its own indigenous technology.
  • The duration of the trials is for six months, which includes a time period of two months for the procurement and setting up of the equipment.
  • The permissions have been given by DoT as per the priorities and technology partners identified by the TSPs themselves

BIASA BASICS 

What is 5G, and how prepared is India to adapt to this tech?

  • 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks. 5G mainly works in 3 bands, namely low, mid and high frequency spectrum — all of which have their own uses as well as limitations.
  • While the low band spectrum has shown great promise in terms of coverage and speed of internet and data exchange, the maximum speed is limited to 100 Mbps (Megabits per second). 
  • This means that while telcos can use and install it for commercial cellphone users who may not have specific demands for very high speed internet, the low band spectrum may not be optimal for specialised needs of the industry.

Where does India stand in the 5G technology race?

  • On par with the global players, India had, in 2018, planned to start 5G services as soon as possible, with an aim to capitalise on the better network speeds and strength that the technology promised.
  • All the three private telecom players, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vi, have been urging the DoT to lay out a clear road map of spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands, so that they would be able to plan the roll out of their services accordingly. One big hurdle, however, is the lack of flow of cash and adequate capital with at least two of the three players, namely Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
  • On the other hand, Reliance Jio plans to launch an indigenously built 5G network for the country as early as the second half of this year. The company is said to have a complete end-to-end 5G solution prepared by the company itself that is ready for deployment once the networks are in place. This solution can also be deployed by other telecom operators as a complete managed service.

Global Progress on 5G:

  • Global telecom companies have already started building 5G networks and rolling it out to their customers in many countries:
  • 5G had been deployed in 50 cities in the United States.
  • South Korea has rolled out 5G to 85 cities.
  • Japan and China have too started 5G mobile service on a trial basis.

Challenges for operators and vendors

  • The biggest worry for vendors is that operators in India are not keen to buy 5G spectrum this year.
  • Plus, globally, 5G use-cases are emerging for industrial applications and not for consumer-centric solutions. Why will an Indian consumer pay more to download a movie in three seconds with 5G when he can do it in one or two minutes with cheaper 4G service?
  • No ready use-cases are available for rural areas, which the government is pressing for in trials.
  • Earlier this month, DoT approved prices for the next spectrum auction that will happen by April. Of the 8,300 megahertz (MHz) of airwaves the government plans to offer, 6,050MHz have been allocated for 5G. The 3,300-3,600MHz band allocated for 5G has been priced at Rs.492 crore per megahertz. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents operators Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea, believes that these airwaves are too expensive.
  • Moreover, each operator and each vendor has to look at three scenarios for 5G trials—rural, semi-urban and urban use-cases. They want DoT to allows more flexibility on this requirement.

 

SOURCE: THE HINDU 

 

 

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