As pointed out by the parliamentary panel on IT, 5G trials in India haven’t initiated because of the delays and inefficiency of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). But according to a report from ET Telecom, the 5G trial applications submitted by Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), and Vodafone Idea (Vi) are likely to be approved in the coming two weeks. The questions asked by the parliamentary panel on IT has certainly pushed DoT to move faster and avail the airwaves in the appropriate spectrum band to the telcos for initiating 5G trials.
Discussions With Telcos for 5G Trials in Place
The report said that the DoT secretary’s office in addition to other officials is currently in talks with the operators to conduct 5G trials. Last year, 16 applications were submitted to the DoT for conducting 5G trials in the country both using imported and homegrown technology.
But the trials didn’t take place because of DoT’s inefficiency in getting on with 5G business. The parliamentary panel expressed its disappointment by noting that what has happened is in contradiction to what DoT had told the committee during the examination of Demands for Grants in February 2020.
The panel asked DoT why the 5G trials haven’t initiated yet where there were clearly no issues. To this, DoT informed the committee that it plans to start 5G trials in the country in next two to three months using both imported as well as indigenous technology.
Jio and Airtel have said that their networks are 5G ready and are just waiting for the government’s nod to start with the 5G trials. Airtel recently even tested 5G on the airwaves in the 1800 MHz band in Hyderabad and found impeccable results.
Mukesh Ambani had said that Jio plans to launch 5G commercially in India during the second half of 2021. However, the upcoming spectrum auctions don’t list the 5G spectrum (3300-3600 MHz bands); thus there is no clarity on how much time it will actually take for 5G to arrive in India.