Indian telcos to run 5G trials before rollout

The launch of the fifth-generation technology in India will take place in the second half of 2021, but first needs to be put into trial to check its effectiveness and efficiency for the public.

That said, India’s telecom operators had no choice but to pressure the government to decide when it plans to auction fifth-generation spectrum, so that they have readability on when to begin area trials to test the technology and roll out services and check the expertise.

Managing and organizing networks

Nearly all advanced countries launched 5G, whether impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic or not, however, they keep on testing it, notably for vertical applications. However, the pandemic gave the opportunity to boost 5G trials in many industrial sectors (health, education, logistics, retail…).

Whist companies are competing to offer customers the best service and stay on top of the 5G race, they work on managing and organizing their plans accordingly, especially with their latest rollout plans.

Some of the requested plans are the division’s Wi-Fi planning cell to replace the National Frequency Allocation Plan (NFAP)-2018 with new spectrum bands reminiscent of 26GHz (gigahertz) which have been recognized by the International Telecom Union for 5G deployment.

“Spectrum already identified for IMT (International Mobile Telecommunications)/5G in the NFAP-2018 should be made available for mobile services,” SP Kochhar, director-general, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), stated, including that, “timelines need to be defined for the availability of these bands”.

The NFAP is a central coverage that defines the roadmap for future spectrum utilization by all nationwide authorities, together with the telecom division, the division of house and the defense ministry.

Benefits and challenges of 5G

According to a report by a government-appointed panel, the economic impact of the network will be enormous in India and expected to reach $1 trillion by 2035.

One of the accomplishments of the network is the public-private partnerships to get broadband growth and penetration, which brings with it 5G trials and testing, network densification, among others.

This wireless technology will lead to the creation of smart cities and manufacturing, new business models, better education and healthcare among others, Director-General of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), SP Kochhar said.

It also brings with it the digitization of whole societies, pushing the government to launch two strategic initiatives addressing such challenges: India’s Smart Cities Mission and Digital India.

These initiatives, which depend on 5G, will focus on easing the stress of urban population growth and closing the digital divide among the citizens from different social backgrounds.

As such, the challenges that India faces regarding its infrastructure are significant leading to limiting 5G deployment, such as the lack of a robust network to connect cellular sub-networks to a core network. Most mobile subscriptions are still 2G whilst organizations began considering jumping from 2G/3G directly to 5G.

Trials on networks usually help define it to activate it later for commercial and business use, for it gives feedback on the status of the wireless network.