Everyone is waiting to see live 5G networks in India. The telecom operators are currently in the testing phase of the 5G equipment and networks in different parts of the country. A few months back, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had given the private telcos' spectrum in the 700 MHz, 3.5 GHz, and 26 GHz bands for conducting 5G trials. The operators were supposed to finish the trials within six months, which should have ideally concluded in November 2021. But now, as per a CNBC -Awaaz, the telcos are looking to get a one-year extension from the DoT for finishing 5G trials.
Indian Telecom Operators Haven’t Tested 5G Much in Rural India
The companies, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea (Vi), and Reliance Jio, are looking for additional time from the DoT to conduct and conclude 5G trials. Because the operators haven’t tested 5G much in the rural parts of the country, they want more time to conduct the trials.
CNBC-Awaaz said, citing an unnamed source, that the DoT might give the telecom operators extra time for testing 5G. The telecom department could extend the trials until March 2022.
This means that even the 5G spectrum auctions will be delayed and might only happen in the first quarter of FY23. It is worth noting that Bharti Airtel was the first private telecom operator in the country to test 5G in rural India. Airtel had partnered with Ericsson to conduct the trials.
Reliance Jio and Vodafone Idea are also aggressively testing their 5G networks. Vi has already formed partnerships with multiple companies to test 5G for enterprises and smart city solutions. Reliance Jio, on the other hand, is conducting the biggest 5G trial in Mumbai, India. In fact, Jio has developed its own 5G stack for both radio (5G NR) and core network (5G CN), which is compliant with the latest standards.
Considering all this, it may take much more time for the operators to roll out 5G networks, and India might see 5G by October 2022 only.