Telecom operator Bharti Airtel and equipment maker Ericsson on Tuesday said they had conducted India’s first 5G network trial in a rural location, and were able to clock speeds exceeding 100 Mbps speeds at a distance of more than 10 km from the site.
The demonstration took place in Bhaipur Bramanan village on the outskirts of Delhi-NCR using 5G trial spectrum allocated to Bharti by the Department of Telecom.
Bharti Airtel said it believed that once 5G spectrum is auctioned, networks can go live within six months and cover a large portion of the country within a year. Speaking to reporters, Randeep Sekhon, chief technology officer, Bharti Airtel said that assuming auctions happen early next year, “a quarter or two quarters from that, we should start seeing 5G networks getting live across India.”
“India is a very big country, it will probably take some time for 5G to be equal to 4G, but we should see that after one year of the start... large portions of India are covered, especially where the demand is high…,” he added.
Nunzio Mirtillo, head of Ericsson Southeast Asia, Oceania and India, said 5G would serve as a “socio-economic multiplier” for the country. He added that as per a study by Ericsson, on an average, a 10% increase in the mobile broadband adoption ratio causes a 0.8% increase in GDP.
The 5G site infrastructure was powered by Ericsson’s 3GPP-compliant 5G radio. The trial was carried out by utilising the allocated mid-band trial spectrum in the 3500MHz band and existing FDD spectrum band. “The results of the trial demonstrate Airtel’s capability to enable 5G for both capacity and coverage over its existing nationwide 4G infrastructure,” the two companies said in a statement.