Airtel may be the only telco to showcase 5G solutions at India Mobile Congress

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Updated: September 27, 2019 7:03:00 AM

Last year, Reliance Jio had conducted 5G trials with Samsung and Ericsson during the event. Bharti Airtel did it with Huawei and Ericsson, while Vodafone Idea did not showcase the latest technology.

The government has announced guidelines for 5G trials and operators are asked to submit fresh applications in the revised format. The government has announced guidelines for 5G trials and operators are asked to submit fresh applications in the revised format.

When it comes to 5G trials at the upcoming India Mobile Congress (IMC), Bharti Airtel is likely to showcase use cases around the latest technology during the October 14-16 event. As per sources, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea will not be conducting any 5G trials at the IMC, which is the flagship event of the telecom industry, jointly organised by the DoT and the Cellular Operators Association of India.

The annual event, formed on the lines of Mobile World Congress Barcelona, was started in 2017.

Last year, Reliance Jio had conducted 5G trials with Samsung and Ericsson during the event. Bharti Airtel did it with Huawei and Ericsson, while Vodafone Idea did not showcase the latest technology.

As per sources, for this year’s IMC, Bharti Airtel has applied to showcase 5G solutions with all the three leading network providers — Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei – while Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea have not applied at all. Also, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE have applied individually to showcase their solutions.

Queries sent to Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio remained unanswered at the time of going to the press.

Sources further said the DoT has around 200 Mhz spectrum in 3400-3600 MHz band that can be allocated to companies for trials during the event. An official said a company will be allocated a block of 40 MHz each for trial.

Apart from trials at the IMC, the DoT is evaluating applications around the broader 5G field trials for which spectrum can be given to operators for one year, which can be extended also.

The government has announced guidelines for 5G trials and operators are asked to submit fresh applications in the revised format. Last year, six applications were received for conducting 5G trials but now everybody will have to apply afreash in the revised format.

In fact, the DoT has formed another inter-ministerial panel on 5G. The panel comprises officials from the PMO, ministries of home, external affairs, department of IT, department of science and technology, Intelligence Bureau and National Security Council.

This is the second time that DoT has formed an inter-ministerial panel on 5G as an earlier committee, headed by principal scientific adviser K Vijay Raghavan had already submitted its report.

“The PSA-headed committee in its report has not recommended banning of Chinese firms in 5G trials, but its mandate was limited to trials. So, we have formed the new panel that will look after all the aspects of 5G,” a source said.

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