The Central Government funded '5G Test Bed' will be fully operational by 2021 with over 300 people trained in the 5G technology. According to the national coordinator of the project Bhaskar Ramamurthi, the first version of the 'test bed' would be ready by 2019-end and the final version by 2021. "Already nearly 170 people are working on this. By the time we are through with this, 300 to 400 persons of various profiles will be trained in 5G so that they can join the (mobile network) operators," Ramamurthi told PTI.
"It is an ongoing process and the test bed would facilitate training more professionals to meet the demand," he added. As we all know, India is aiming to roll out 5G services simultaneously with other countries, unlike its previous networks 3G and 4G which were deployed much later. As part of the effort, the Centre launched a three-year project 'Building an End-to-End 5G Test Bed' to advance innovation and research in 5G.
With a budget of Rs 224 crore, the programme has been awarded to IIT Madras, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT), Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
The test bed, located partly in all these institutions, envisages close collaboration between the universities and startups and create an ecosystem that closely resembles a real-world 5G deployment. The final version of the test bed would be fully compliant, which means "anyone's handset should work with anyone's base station (institutions)," the director said.
The test bed is already collaborating with around 12 startups working on 5G. Telecom Secretary Aruna Sundararajan has said the auction of spectrum for 5G services is likely to happen in the latter half of 2019. Telecom minister Manoj Sinha has said the government has approved a financial grant for the project to set up Indigenous 5G Test Bed' in India by Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institute of Science.
The project entails setting up of an 'open 5G Test Bed' for Indian companies, academia and is likely to enhance the national capability in telecom technology and manufacturing and create Intellectual Property (IP), according to him.