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Airtel conducts 5G demo in Hyderabad; permits soon: Ravi Shankar Prasad

The development comes just days after Airtel’s rival and India’s largest telecom company Reliance Jio announced that it has begun advanced 5G tests on its network and bring 5G in India as soon as this year.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi |
January 29, 2021 3:54:39 am
farmers protest, ravi shankar prasad, ravi shankar prasad interview indian express, farmers protest latest news, govt farmer talks, slogans at farmers protest, indian expressUnion Minister for Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad. (File)

Bharti Airtel on Thursday announced the successful demonstration of its live 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad, the first in Inda, showcasing the readiness of its network for the next general of mobile telephony. However, India’s second largest telecom company underscored that the full impact of 5G will be available to its customers when adequate spectrum is made available and government approvals are received.

The development comes just days after Airtel’s rival and India’s largest telecom company Reliance Jio announced that it has begun advanced 5G tests on its network and bring 5G in India as soon as this year.

Meanwhile, Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Thursday that core 5G network should be Indian and the country should move faster on next-generation technology with indigenously made telecom gears. He added that the testbed is ready for 5G and the government will soon grant a permit for trials.

Speaking at a National Informatics Centre Services Incorporated event, he said, “We lagged in 2G, 3G and 4G but in 5G India should move at a speed faster than the world with made in India 5G. We have made a testbed and we are soon going to permit it. Core network should be Indian.”

Airtel’s 5G demonstration was conducted on Swedish equipment maker Ericsson’s radio infrastructure and was used on Chinese smartphone maker Oppo’s devices.

The Telecom Department had earlier set a target to start 5G trials in 2019 and roll out the next-generation service in 2020. However, claims by the Defence Ministry and space department on part of the spectrum that was identified for 5G services led to the delay.

While the demonstration in Hyderabad was conducted on the 1800 MHz spectrum band, Airtel said that future spectrum allocations in the 3.5 GHz frequency will be ideal for 5G rollout. “If permitted by the authorities, in a matter of months, Airtel customers can start experiencing 5G. Over 20 commercially available 5G smartphones in India will be ready for Airtel 5G,” it added.

The telco said that during the demonstration, Airtel’s 5G was capable of delivering 10 times the speed compared to existing technologies.

“When we launch 5G and make it available commercially, it must have a full power of 5G instead of marketing. Delivering experience is a must and you need more spectrum, especially in the mid-band. That doesn’t mean 1,800, 2,300 and 2,100 MHz can’t be used,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Bharti Airtel.

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