Airtel partners with Qualcomm to carry out 5G trials in India: Here’s how and when 5G will be rolled out in the country

Bharti Airtel has announced its partnership with Qualcomm for the development of 5G technology in India. Amid concerns raised by the parliamentary panel, various telecom operators are also speeding up the process of 5G trials in the country which can take place by May.

The world of the internet is moving quite rapidly. It’s hardly five years since the launch of 4G networks in India, that talks on the trials of 5G is making headlines every then and now. In the same league, Airtel is moving ahead to pursue its plan of implementing a trial process for a faster rollout of its 5G services ahead in the future.

Bharti Airtel, which is a major telecom operator in India has announced its partnership with Qualcomm for the development of 5G technology in India. The company further plans to use Qualcomm’s 5G radio access network technology stack to develop commercial 5G networks. This will strengthen the process of setting up open networks for 5G.

Along with that, Airtel will also build an O-RAN alliance which will use open 5G radio technology for a flexible model of establishing the network ecosystem. This will allow the users to access the 5G network seamlessly. Airtel is also planning to develop 5G fixed wireless access network which would offer gigabit class home wi-fi networks by upgrading the existing broadband infrastructure.

This new technology is believed to bring a smoother last mile connectivity in remote areas of the country through easily deployable 5G networks. Moreover, Qualcomm has also said that it is necessary to rollout 5G network services in India as fast as possible. That is why it is necessary to boost the network coverage of Airtel in the country.

5G trials in India

Other than Airtel, Jio, BSNL and Vodafone have also submitted their applications to gear up for 5G trials in the country along with their own roadmaps to implement the process. Trials for 5G are expected to be conducted in two-three months. As per a report, Department of Technology (DoT) has received 16 requests from various telecom operators pertaining to 5G trials and to expedite the process of clearance for the same.

At present, there are many hurdles in deploying hassle-free 5G network connectivity in the country. Currently, 4G airwaves are quite congested but with 5G this has to be improved so that the overall quality of 5G network improves in providing superior quality of data and calling at a faster pace.

Airtel’s 5G demonstration

In January, Airtel demonstrated 5G services in Hyderabad where the company used existing liberalised spectrum in 1800 MHz and through non-standalone network technology to run 5G enabled internet. With that, internet speeds shot up to as high as 3Gbps which was enough to download a full movie in a few seconds. Also, Airtel has claimed that its 5G services will provide 10X speeds in uploading and downloading along with 100X speed in concurrency.

A shot in the arm in implementation of the 5G technology is that it can easily be run on existing infrastructure through dynamic spectrum sharing. Hence, it will run smoothly using the present infrastructure for 4G network.

Concerns raised by parliamentary panel

A parliamentary panel on IT headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has said that India is still underprepared to try for 5G services. The committee has blamed the laggard approach of the government. As per some officials, the rollout of 5G may take place only in early 2022. The panel also pointed out that there has not been enough work done on launching 5G networks in the nation.

Traditionally, India has consistently lagged behind in entailing new network technologies. When 2G was rolled out across the world in 1991 it came in India in 1995. Similarly, while 3G came in 1998 in the world, it came in India 10 years after in 2008. So was the case with 4G which was launched in the world in 2008 but came to India only in 2015. Poor planning and execution along with lack of preparedness with issues of sales of spectrum and radio-waves are some of the concerns that are needed to be looked into by the government.

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