The 5G trials in India are going to commence soon, but Huawei may not be a part of it, as the government is yet to take a call on whether Chinese firms should be allowed to participate in rolling out of the latest telecommunication services.
According to sources in the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), various ministries are still deliberating over Huawei. The home ministry has raised concerns based on the stance taken by the US regarding Huawei, they said. The ministry feels that cyber security should be a top priority, and all bases must be covered before giving a go-ahead to the company, especially when many countries are expressing concerns over the Chinese firm.
The DoT is meeting various stakeholders, including network providers and mobile operators, to fast-track 5G trials.
The department on Monday met industry players and Stanford University professor AJ Paulraj, who had given recommendations on the rollout of 5G services in India. The industry has been been demanding spectrum for one year to do trials, but current rules of the DoT allow allocation of trial spectrum only for three months. This has become a roadblock for faster rollout of
However, DoT sources confirmed to FE that the issue will soon be resolved and trials can commence. However, Huawei may not be a part of trials anytime soon.
The source further said the DoT is consulting the finance ministry regarding 5G trials and if the spectrum should be given for one year without charging. As per the current policy, trial spectrum can be allocated for three months, which can be extended by another three months, but the companies have to pay commercial rates for it. It must be mentioned that the DoT had allocated 100 Mhz of 4G spectrum to Ericsson for its test bed at IIT Delhi. The spectrum has been extended by another three months but the department has not taken a call regarding the waiver of commercial fees from Ericsson.
As per sources, companies including Huawei, Ericsson, Samsung have already applied to DoT for 5G trials. Nokia is yet to officially approach the DoT, though the company has expressed desire to do trials with state-run BSNL.
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As per information, Airtel has sought permission for 5G trials with both Huawei and Ericsson in different locations. Vodafone Idea has submitted a joint application with Huawei for trials whereas Reliance Jio will conduct trials with Samsung. FE had earlier reported that various departments of the government were deliberating on security concerns regarding the 5G equipment given by Huawei as many countries had banned the equipment of the company.
Huawei had got permission from the DoT to conduct 5G trials in India in October. But until a go-ahead is given to the company, spectrum will not be allocated to it for trials. The company is already working with Bharti Airtel for a laboratory test on the 5G technology.