The top three telcos in India are now looking to approach DoT seeking deadline extension required to submit their proposals for conducting 5G field trials. The deadline to submit the proposal was January 10, but telcos did not come up with their proposals which will ultimately result in the delay of 5G trials. Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea Limited and Bharti Airtel will seek more time from the telecom department for submitting their proposals, according to a new ET Telecom report. The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which represents the telecom operators, will likely write a letter to DoT requesting an extension.
5G Field Trials Might Be Delayed in India
As expected, we may not see telcos launching a 5G network in at least one circle in 2020. On December 31, the telecom department or DoT asked telcos to come up with their proposal for conducting 5G trials in the country. And the DoT gave a deadline of just ten days (January 10). As the deadline is already here, telcos are now looking to seek deadline extension from DoT. “There is a lot of documentation and details required to be submitted to the telecom department, which is not possible by January 10,” a senior executive said to ET Telecom.
Furthermore, the report also says the COAI will write a formal letter to DoT this week seeking a deadline extension. That said, COAI and the telcos did not yet fix the deadline they will seeking from the DoT. Since it requires a lot of paperwork, we are expecting COAI to look for at least six weeks of the deadline to submit the proposals.
“There are three scenarios – rural, semi-urban and urban areas – for which information and a proper plan needs to be submitted including information from each gear vendor and telecom operator. This information gathering will take time, which is why we are seeking an extension,” added Mathews.
DoT Will Allocate Trial Spectrum to Telcos After Verifying Their Proposals
Once telcos submit their proposal to the DoT, it will allocate the trial spectrum and the telcos can choose their vendor to conduct the trials. There has been a huge debate going on whether Chinese telecom gear makers like Huawei and ZTE should be allowed to participate in the 5G trials. The government last month cleared Huawei and ZTE to take part in India's 5G trials which are expected to happen in the first half of 2020.
It is already a piece of known news that Vodafone Idea will pick Ericsson and Huawei as its partners to conduct 5G trials, whereas Bharti Airtel will look after Nokia, Huawei and Ericsson to conduct the same. Reliance Jio Infocomm is expected to carry forward its major partnership with Samsung to test 5G network in India. State-run telco, BSNL, will likely go with ZTE to deploying 5G in the country.
5G field trials in India have been delayed for nearly a year now, owing to several issues like pricing and no clarity on Chinese vendors taking part in the trials. Finally, the government has cleared all the issues and asked telcos to come up with the required proposal. But telcos are now looking for more time which will delay the 5G field trials in the country.