5G in India: Government Harmonising Spectrum, Says Telecom Secretary

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The government has started tuning spectrum for 5Gservices as part of its roadmap to become early adopter of the next generation services, which is expected to provide download speed over 1000Mbps on mobile devices.

“On spectrum we are already more or less aligned with global position in 5G. Those bands we are harmonising in line with global community,” Telecom secretary Aruna Sundararajan told PTI in an interview.

She was in Barcelona to attend global telecom event Mobile World Congress and held meeting with key players in the sector, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, Qualcomm, MediaTek, NTT, Intel, etc.

The Department of Telecom has started harmonising spectrum in 3500MHz band and 26GHz band along with E and V band, she said.

At present 4G services are provided in spectrum band below 2600Mhz. With increase in frequency band count, the signal coverage area reduces, but as per technology trend, speed of transmitting data has been increasing.

The government has already harmonised spectrum in 700MHz band which can be used for 5G services.

Telecom players are running trials to use 5G in automated cars, robotic surgery from remote locations, education, etc.

Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha has asked technology companies to look for using 5G services in agriculture sector as well, she said.

“All the players are positioning themselves for India as a big 5G market. One of the leading chipset company in a meeting told us that India will have one of the biggest IoT (Internet of things) user base and the company is keen to partner with C-DoT for developing various IoT solutions. India is a forerunner and will be an early adopter of 5G,” she said.

According to Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, 5G services in India will start once standards for the technology will be freezed by global telecom body International Telecommunications Union next year.

Sundararajan said before finalisation of standards telecom gear makers – Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, ZTE, NTT and Samsung have started deepening their work on 5G in India.

“Ericsson has plans to scale up manufacturing facility. They are also going to set up 5G test bed in IIT Delhi. Huawei is going to set up their test lab for 5G,” she said.

Chinese telecom gear maker ZTE, which has recently won major 4G contract from BSNL, is planning to start capacity building around new technology in India, the telecom secretary said.

Finnish telecom firm Nokia will start smart village pilot in which they will showcase health and education using 5G.

Nokia will set up 400-500 centres and in third phase pan India rollout will take place, Sundararajan said.

She also said 5G is like steam engine and it will drive everything.

“Another significant message that came out here was that a lot of Indian software companies are behind of lot of the technologies in 5G. The corresponding software has to be made. Indian companies are developing software for that. Already C-DoT has developed standard M2M platform,” she said.

When asked about timing for spectrum auction, she said that the government will decide on it only after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India submits recommendations to the government.

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