In order to test its 5G products which are developed in-house, Reliance Jio has sought permission from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to do lab testing for 5G. In lab testing, no third party is involved, which means when the permission is granted, Jio has to do everything on its own, including setting up the test network at its premises.
According to sources, the company applied for lab testing a couple of weeks back, as DoT has not taken a decision regarding 5G field trials. “We are looking at the Reliance Jio proposal and a call will be taken soon,” sources in DoT told FE. A query sent to the company remained unanswered at the time of going to press.
In lab testing, also called non-radiating trial, the signal is limited to the premises of the company. There is no need for spectrum allocation as it’s for indoor purposes and no services are availed by anyone. But permission is required from DoT for spectrum use. Also, in order to import 5G equipment, the company needs an import licence and that is why it has sought permission from DoT.
Lab testing is different from field trials, which are much bigger and involve the general public to use services.
It must be mentioned that Jio as well as other telecom operators had applied to do 5G field trials but DoT is yet to grant permission to any company. Jio had filed five applications for doing 5G trials. Earlier in January this year, DoT came out with a revised format for trial applications with an aim to start trials in March-April. But most of the work was stalled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, as the government has still not taken a call on the participation of Huawei, it is going slow on 5G trials.
Last year, DoT had notified guidelines for conducting 5G trials.
Under the rules, a uniform fee of `5,000 has been fixed for the trial licence. The validity of the licence will range between three months to two years, depending on the purpose for which the trial is being conducted.
As per the guidelines, the quantum of spectrum that can be allocated depends on its necessity and demonstration of technological capabilities. For example, typical values may be up to 100 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz (gigahertz) band, 400 MHz in the 26 GHz band and other potential millimetre bands, the guidelines said.
According to DoT officials, the trials will provide a sound understanding of the security issues involved in 5G networks and if anything more needs to be addressed.