OneWeb, Jio Space Tech and Starlink have applied for licenses to launch satellite-based broadband internet in India

On December 13th, the chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), PD Vaghela,  said that India will be the first country in the world to auction spectrum for satellite communications.  Noting that India’s telecom regulator (DoT was working on the matter, he added that TRAI will soon come out with ‘some sort of a model’ for the auction of space spectrum.

Addressing the Broadband India Forum summit, Vaghela said that TRAI has received a reference from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on the allocation of the spectrum and other allied aspects.  He added that TRAI plans to streamline the process of seeking permissions from multiple ministries. In this regard, the regulator will make recommendations to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Communications and the Ministry of Space to ensure ease of doing business in the sector.  “Any system that we will be bringing is to actually encourage and promote investment in the sector, and not increase any burden,” added Vaghela.

Responding to questions about the status of the consultation paper on the spectrum action for satellite communication, TRAI chief said that the telecom authority was deliberating with experts and regulators globally to arrive at a suitable framework. The paper could see the light of the day only after these discussions are over.  He reiterated that nanosatellites coupled with other emerging technologies would drive innovation and bridge the digital divide.

“Nanosatellites and satellite Internet of Things (IoT) would drive the next generation of technology and such innovations are expected to enable connectivity across industries and empower it and the upcoming 6G capability. Innovations in satellite ground stations, orbital services, payloads, operational systems and artificial intelligence would enable satellites to perform more complex functions,” the chairman said.

TRAI chairman’s comments have come at a time when the satellite communications arena is witnessing rapid developments. In the recently released Telecommunications Bill, 2022, the government has sought to extend the scope of telecommunication services to include satellite-based communication services.

Alongside, the center is also looking at new technologies to increase the penetration of the internet. Recently, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that satellite communications would play a key role in delivering internet services to 1.2 Bn Indians by 2025-26.

The government recently also announced a slew of reforms for the satcom space. The center has relaxed norms for obtaining the Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite (GMPCS) license, which is mandatory to operate as a Satcom player in India.

So far, usual telecom players are looking to grab a pie of this burgeoning space. In the race are Airtel-backed OneWeb and Jio Space Tech. Besides, Elon Musk‘s Starlink has also applied for a license to launch satellite-based broadband in India.

As per a report, the global demand for satellite applications is expected to soar to $7 Bn by 2031. On similar lines, the overarching Indian space industry is projected to grow to $13 Bn by 2025, with the satellite launch services segment expected to garner the fastest growth.

TRAI Chairman PD Vaghela addressing Broadband India Forum


In summary:

  • TRAI is said to have already received a reference from DoT for the auction of the spectrum
  • TRAI will send recommendations to multiple ministries to streamline the process of permissions and enhance ease of doing business
  • The government targets to deliver internet services to 1.2 B India residents by 2025-26


India creates 6G Technology Innovation Group without resolving crucial telecom issues


India’s COAI joins 4 European telcos in demanding OTT players pay to use their networks

India Telecom industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAIhas reiterated that over-the-top (OTT) players should pay telcos for using their network. The payment can be done directly to the telecom firms on mutually agreed terms and in case a mutual agreement is not reached, an appropriate licensing and regulatory framework should be formed which governs the contribution of OTT players towards creation of network infrastructure.

The association has highlighted that globally, the desirability of OTTs making a “fair contribution” to network costs of telecom firms has gained momentum. For instance, the European Commission (EU) is advocating for formalizing due legislation for OTT players to share the network investment burden of the telecom players in a proportionate manner.

The EU continues to express concern that there are big tech companies who generate a lot of data traffic but do not invest towards building infrastructure. The governments of France, Italy and Spain sent a joint paper to the European commission in August 2022, requesting for the swift development of a legislative proposal in this regard. Similar sentiments have been expressed by representatives of the US regulator FCC and in Australia, a world-first law was passed in Feb 2022, aimed at making tech giants pay for news content on their digital platforms, COAI said.

“We wish to submit that any entity which creates a property or infrastructure by investing funds, is entitled to take usage charges (rent /lease charges, etc.) from the user of that property or infrastructure who uses the same for commercial purposes,” COAI said in a letter to India’s Telecom Secretary K Rajaraman.

Further, the association stressed that the government needs to provide a legal framework and empowerment for enabling such entity to charge any user that uses its service/infrastructure on a reasonable basis.  The telecom body had demanded the same thing while submitting its comments on the draft telecom bill to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which is currently working on a revised draft of the bill. The COAI has suggested a few methods that can be used for making such payments. As per COAI, OTT players can pay telecom firms by way of an equivalent of “usage charge” for the actual traffic carried by these OTTs on telcos’ network which can be easily measured. The usage charge is to be mutually agreed between the telecom firms and OTT players and paid directly to the telcos. The definition of the “usage charge” may be clearly mentioned in the Telecom Bill itself.

“If a mutual agreement is not reached, then an appropriate licensing and regulatory framework should be in place which governs the contribution of OTT players towards creation of network infrastructure,” COAI said.  Please refer to this video for more details on the proposed Telecom Bill.


In February, four major European telcos are demanding legislation at European Union level to force the platforms, aka Big Tech, over-the-top (OTT) providers or hyperscalers, to pay their fair share of network investments. Timotheus Höttges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom (DT), Stéphane Richard, outgoing chairman and CEO of Orange, José María Álvarez-Pallete, chairman and CEO of Telefónica and Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone, penned a joint statement saying the current situation is simply not sustainable.

Citing the Sandvine Global Internet Phenomena Report from January 2022, they point out that video streaming, gaming and social media “originated by a few digital content platforms” accounts for over 70% of all traffic running over the networks.

“The investment burden must be shared in a more proportionate way,” the four CEOs insist.  “Digital platforms are profiting from hyper scaling business models at little cost while network operators shoulder the required investments in connectivity. At the same time our retail markets are in perpetual decline in terms of profitability.”

They also warn that Europe risks falling behind other regions of the world if it does not take steps now, “ultimately degrading the quality of experience for all consumers.”

While the CEOs of DT, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone have taken heart from recent commitments by the European Commission to ensure that all market players make a “fair and proportionate contribution” to infrastructure costs, they want legislators “to introduce rules at EU level to make this principle a reality.”

“The clock is ticking loudly, particularly given the huge investments still required to achieve the connectivity targets for 2030 set by the European Commission in its Communication on the European Digital Decade. Without an equitable solution, we will not get there,” the statement concluded.



Nokia Executive: India to Have Fastest 5G Rollout in the World; 5Gi/LMLC Missing!

While speaking at an event organized by the Foreign Correspondent Club on Friday evening, Nokia India Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Amit Marwah said India is going to record the fastest 5G rollout in the world and it is going to have the biggest success of the next -generation telecom service with the support of the government.

“We (India) are not late, we are at the right time. In the rest of the country compared to other countries where the ecosystem has to develop. We have a 5G-ready ecosystem. We have 10 per cent of smartphones in India which are 5G ready. India is going to witness the fastest rollout of 5G which will be at least three times faster than what we have seen in 4G,” Marwah said.  The 5G services will progressively cover the entire country over the next couple of years — Reliance Jio promises to do that by December 2023 and Bharti Airtel by March 2024.

Marwah said telecom manufacturing is becoming robust in India backed by the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.  “We were part of PLI 1.0. We were one of the only companies that met and exceeded our target of PLI 1.0. We let go-off that scheme and let go-off the incentive of one year because PLI 2.0 was even more interesting. Volumes and scale in India are increasing so much that you have let go for one year. We re-applied for PLI f2.0 and today we are part of PLI 2.0 which means we are investing more, adding more lines and adding more products,” he said.

The PLI scheme offers up to 20 times incentive on incremental sales of telecom equipment made in India. The government has added additional incentives for designing products in India in the second version of the PLI scheme.  Marwah said that manufacturing is on a very positive note in India across the sectors but definitely in telecom.

“The only challenge right now is the availability of fabs which are semiconductors. 60-80 per cent of what we manufacture requires semiconductors. That is the area where we still need to work on. There is still some kind of infiltration of equipment in telecom from neighboring countries which need to have a little more vigilance and kind of stopping at the customs,” Marwah added.

Note:  In October, Nokia announced that it had won a multi-year deal with Reliance Jio India to build one of the largest 5G networks in the world.

Department of Telecom, Deputy Director General (Policy) YGSC Kishore Babu said that the 5G adoption and applications are expected to be more diverse in India compared to other countries.  “However, most of the use cases across the world remind us we may have to innovate to meet most of the requirements in the coming months and years,” Babu said.

Tech Mahindra, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Growth, Jagdish Mitra said 5G is the biggest opportunity in technology so far, for India to bridge what we have typically referred to as Bharat and India.

“We have 62 per cent of our workforce in the agriculture sector, and 5G presents us with a huge opportunity to convert that into the most profitable segment. We can enable high yields by producing smarter networks and delivering products to the farmers,” Mitra said.

Telecom Sector Skill Council, CEO, Arvind Bali said close to 25 lakh people need to be reskilled and up-skilled in the field of telecom in the next few years because there is a shift from 4G to 5G.

“We need to have at least one lakh technicians and engineers, in the next few years, who have been trained specifically on 5G courses for the new job requirements and we at TSSC are setting up Centers of Excellence and training labs with the help of the industry. 5G is going to open up big requirements for a talented workforce and we are training the youth in new-age technologies,” Bali said.  He added that TSSC is also developing all the curriculum and the digital content for training people to meet the industry requirement.

End Note:  Despite all the hype and hoopla about 5G in India, none of the 5G network announcements have stated support for 5Gi which is part of the ITU-R M.2150 5G standard for RIT/SRITs.   The 5Gi standard uses Low Mobility Large Cell (LMLC) to extend 5G connectivity and the range of a base station. It does so by using bands of the spectrum, which are lower than 5G’s operational bands but offers a high-range waveform. Ideally, the 5G frequency band ranges from 700MHz to 52GHz, but 5Gi can go lower than 700MHz and up to 36GHz without sacrificing the range.  5Gi was contributed to ITU-R WP 5D by TSDSI and backed by the Indian government.

LMLC technology increases the inter cell site distance to 6 km from the 3GPPs 1.7 km, which should make the deployment cost-effective. Also, the 5Gi standard reduces the mobility speed from 3 km/h to 30 km/h to make 5G network usage satisfactory to India’s scenario. In contrast, the 3GPP RIT/SRIT in the ITU M.2150 5G standard has maintained the mobility requirement between 120 km/h to 500 km/h, which is inconceivable in India.

One year ago, Vodafone Idea said it was working with a “few companies” to prepare for trials using 5Gi.  “We are already working with a few companies. As and when the product is ready, we will be keen and will be doing trials and deploy accordingly” Jagbir Singh, chief technology officer (CTO) of Vi said at the time. He didn’t divulge details of the partners are.  At this time, Vodafone Idea has not stated when it would deploy 5G– only that it would be 5G NSA (with a LTE anchor for everything other than the radio access network).


India’s TSDSI candidate IMT 2020 RIT with Low Mobility Large Cell (LMLC) for rural coverage of 5G services

At long last: India enters 5G era as carriers spend $ billions but don’t support 5Gi

Vodafone Idea to use 5Gi (ITU M.2150-LMLC) in trials

Vodafone Idea Talks About 5G Launch!!PDF-E.pdf (ITU-R 5G RIT/SRIT standard is M.2150)

Reliance Jio’s “Home Grown” 5G? Ericsson and Nokia in multi-year deals with Jio to build a mega 5G network

What ever happened to “Home Grown 5G” at Reliance Jio?  Over two years ago, Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani said his company had developed its own 5G solution “from scratch.”

“Jio plans to launch “a world-class 5G service in India…using 100% home grown technologies and solutions,” he said in a statement at the Reliance Industries annual shareholders meeting.  “Once Jio’s 5G solution is proven at India-scale, Jio Platforms would be well-positioned to be an exporter of 5G solutions to other telecom operators globally, as a complete managed service,” he added.

–>Since then we haven’t heard anything about Jio’s indigenously built 5G network.  Jio has not disclosed whose network equipment is being used for its current 5G roll-out in India which started this month.

In stark contrast, telecom equipment vendors Ericsson and Nokia have signed separate multi-year deals with Reliance Jio to build a mega 5G network. The announcements neither divulged the deal sizes or time frames. They came amid large network deployments across India for 5G services.

  • Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson announced a long-term strategic 5G contract with Reliance Jio to roll out a 5G standalone (SA) network in the country.
  • Finland headquartered Nokia will supply Reliance Jio, which has more than 420 million customers, with 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment in a multi-year deal, the Finnish company said in a statement.

Announcing the partnership with Ericsson, Akash Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Jio, says: “We are delighted to partner with Ericsson for Jio’s 5G SA rollout. Jio transformed the digital landscape in India with the launch of LTE services in 2016. We are confident that Jio’s 5G network will accelerate India’s digitalization and will serve as the foundation for achieving our nation’s ‘Digital India’ vision.”

Ericsson’s 5G RAN products and solutions from Ericsson Radio System and E-band microwave mobile transport solution will be deployed in the 5G network for Jio, the equipment company said. This is the first partnership between Jio and Ericsson for radio access network deployment in the country, according to the previously referenced press release.

Ericsson recently topped the Frost Radar™: Global 5G Network Infrastructure Market ranking for second year in a row. Ericsson was also named a Leader in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure for Communications Service Providers report by Gartner.  The Company invests around 18 percent of global revenue in R&D and holds the leading patent portfolio in the industry, with more than 60,000 granted patents worldwide. It is also the holder of the most 5G essential patents.

“Nokia will supply equipment from its AirScale portfolio, including base stations, high-capacity 5G Massive MIMO antennas, and Remote Radio Heads to support different spectrum bands, and self-organizing network software,” the company said.  Nokia has a long-standing presence in India. This new deal will mean that Nokia is now supplying India’s three largest mobile operators.

Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO at Nokia stated: “This is a significant win for Nokia in an important market and a new customer with one of the largest RAN footprints in the world. This ambitious project will introduce millions of people across India to premium 5G services, enabled by our industry-leading AirScale portfolio. We are proud that Reliance Jio has placed its trust in our technology and we look forward to a long and productive partnership with them.”

5G data speeds in India are expected to be about 10 times faster than those of 4G, with the network seen as vital for emerging technologies like self-driving cars and artificial intelligence. Reliance snapped up airwaves worth $11 billion in a $19 billion 5G spectrum auction in August and had launched 5G services in select cities. It is also working with Alphabet Inc’s Google to launch a budget 5G smartphone. As India’s telecom service providers roll out 5G services, the government is also pushing top mobile phone manufacturers, like Apple Inc, Samsung and others to prioritise rolling out software upgrades to support 5G, amid concerns that many of their models are not ready for the high-speed service. The Reliance-Nokia deal comes at a time some gover nments, including India, have either banned or discouraged the use of China’s Huawei in national networks.

“Jio is committed to continuously investing in the latest network technologies to enhance the experience of customers,” Akash Ambani, chairman of Reliance Jio, said. Meanwhile, Jio is planning to raise an additional $1.5 billion via external commercial borrowings to fund its 5G capital expenditure plans, reports said. ABP Pvt. Ltd.

Analysts said the 5G rollout in the country would be much slower than 4G or 3G as the main revenue for the service would be generated from enterprise solutions.  Indian telco deals with the equipment makers are meant for areas where enterprises would demand the service. Retail consumers will be wary of paying a higher price just for speed, they said.


Reliance Jio claim: Complete 5G solution from scratch with 100% home grown technologies


At long last: India enters 5G era as carriers spend $ billions but don’t support 5Gi

After years of 5G auction delays, India became the last major Asian economy to launch a 5G network, marking a new wave of spending by indebted Indian carriers.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the first 5G video call on Saturday to school students to demonstrate use of the service in education. “5G is the beginning of an infinite space of opportunities,” especially for the country’s youth, he said.  Well, that has yet to be proven!

Though 5G mobile technology — first introduced in South Korea three years ago — has been viewed by consumers as underwhelming so far because of a dearth of matching applications, local operators led by billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. are betting that will change. They are counting on the nation’s 600 million-plus smartphone users to switch to the new network in due course and also on industries gearing for a digital transformation.

Carriers agreed to fork out $19 billion just two months ago for airwaves at a government auction, with Reliance’s $11 billion bid topping the list. The conglomerate proposes to invest 2 trillion rupees ($25 billion) more. Billionaire Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd. haven’t disclosed their spending plans as yet.

While Reliance raised more than $25 billion from marquee investors in 2020 to help fund digital expansion, the need to spend big on 5G could weigh on the finances of rivals. Bharti and unprofitable Idea have a combined net debt of $37 billion, and the latter staved off bankruptcy by giving 36% of its equity to the Indian government earlier this year in lieu of back fees it couldn’t pay.

At the launch event on Saturday, Ambani said Jio’s 5G network will cover the entire country by December next year, while Mittal said Bharti Airtel plans to do so by 2024. Given the scale of spending, some experts said carriers are unlikely to undercut each other on prices once again — something that was tried in 2016 when Jio entered the market by offering free calls and cheap 4G data plans, which ended up putting some rivals out of business.

“They will likely provide 5G services to those segments of the market that are willing to pay higher and try and recover as much as possible before making it available to others,” said Rajat Kathuria, a senior visiting professor at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations in New Delhi.

5G’s long road to India has been dogged by several controversies. The main one was about how secure Chinese equipment is — a crucial issue for a country engaged in a border conflict with its northern neighbor. Last year, carriers decided to avoid Chinese vendors such as Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp., and opted instead to tie up with makers like Ericsson ABNokia Oyj and Samsung Electronics Co., potentially adding to their costs.

“India may have started a little late, but we’ll finish first by rolling out 5G services that are of higher quality and more affordable,” Ambani said at the launch event. The technology can bring affordable, superior education and skill development to ordinary Indians and deliver high-quality healthcare to rural and remote areas, he said.

Despite India’s TSDSI getting 5Gi (5G for India or Low Mobility Large Cell) included in ITU M.2150 (previously known as IMT 2020), no Indian carrier has announced support of it.  That is a major disappointment for TSDSI.  Please refer to the numerous references below.

Offering low latency (that does not meet ITU-R M.2410 URLLC performance requirements) and data speeds about 100 times faster than 4G (depending how close your 5G endpoint is to the cell tower or small cell), the technology may someday have the potential to enable a variety of advanced applications such as holograms, 3D avatars of people in metaverses and telemedicine, in which near-instantaneous transmission of video and data would allow surgeons to operate remotely using a robotic scalpel. So far, such applications have been too slow to evolve. For average users, 5G has mostly meant faster video games and content streaming.

To capitalize on 5G, China has been rolling out smartphone apps and industrial projects such as super high-definition live streaming, remote manufacturing, virtual reality and robotic surgery arms. The country’s three state-owned carriers have introduced more than 25,000 such applications, according to a news article posted by the State Council on its website in August. In South Korea, despite mobile operators’ efforts to come up with killer apps, average revenue per person has only climbed slightly since the 4G era.

In India’s race to roll out 5G, the only winner to emerge so far has been the government: The airwave auction was set to raise a record amount, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in July.

Proceeds from the spectrum auction could provide a big financial boost to Modi’s administration, which has been seeking to tame inflation and rein in fiscal deficits as economists warn of a looming global recession.


India’s TSDSI candidate IMT 2020 RIT with Low Mobility Large Cell (LMLC) for rural coverage of 5G services

TSDSI’s 5G Radio Interface spec advances to final step of IMT-2020.SPECS standard

India lagging in 5G unless spectrum prices decrease & 5Gi standard debate is settled

Jio and Airtel against 5Gi standard; 2 GHz of mid-band needed for India 5G demand

India’s Success in 5G Standards; IIT Hyderabad & WiSig Networks Initiatives


RailTel and CloudExtel partner to deploy India’s 1st shared RAN solution

RailTel, a Miniratna Central Public Center Enterprises (CPSU) [1.] of India’s Ministry of Railways and CloudExtel, a known Full Stack Network as a Service (NaaS) Provider have partnered together to launch India’s first shared Radio Access Network (RAN) solution for congested locations with the objective of enhancing telecom users’ experience.

Highlights are as follows:

RailTel and CloudExtel offer shared RAN solutions for seamless connectivity in stressed locations
•  Avg. user speed experience increased 5X to 15 Mbps for both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea
•  Pilot project launched at Mumbai Central railway station demonstrated a 20% increase in data consumption

Note 1.  Miniratna central public sector enterprises in India are the ones where pre-tax profit incurred by the company is Rs. 30 crores or more in at least one of the three years and they also have a positive net worth eligible to be considered eligible for granting Miniratna status.


RailTel and CloudExtel carried out the successful pilot of this project in partnership with Bharti AirtelVodafone IdeaNokia, and the Telecom Infra Project (TIP)’s NaaS Solutions Group, with vital support from the Railways, in one of the most network stressed locations namely Mumbai Central railway station. The outcomes of the pilot project have been impressive with 5 times increase in average user speed of mobile data (from 3 Mbps to 15 Mbps) for the mobile phone networks of both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, while the data consumption jumped up by 20%.

Locations specifically like traffic junctions, airports, and railway stations are high-density areas for network congestion. Challenges multiply especially in cities like Mumbai which are densely populated. The success of the shared RAN solution holds promises for the customers of such highly populated and highly crowded areas to have better mobile data usage experience. In the initial phase, the focus will be on extending this technology at more railway stations in Mumbai. Later, more stations may be considered for coverage.

RailTel has so far set up public Wi-Fi hotspots at 5,848 railway stations and has resumed work on network expansion.

Photo credit: Livemint


Aruna Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, RailTel said, “Facilitating seamless connectivity and an enhanced commute experience to passengers at railway stations has been our commitment. The impressive speed and data consumption enabled by Shared RAN has validated our belief in this technology, and we look forward to scaling this in all congested areas serving passengers and telecom operators while reducing the clutter of infrastructure and energy consumption in railway stations”.

Kunal Bajaj, Co-Founder and CEO, CloudExtel said, “The extensive consumption of multimedia-rich content and cloud applications are the new normal and will multiply with 5G offerings. In absence of shared RAN solutions, even 5G performance will get hampered in such congested locations, thus substantially compromising the user experience. Shared RAN solutions will become an architectural foundation for upcoming 5G deployments in the country.”

TIP enables Neutral Host NaaS business model deployments by promoting best practices and supporting market trials to achieve scale. Acknowledging the success of the pilot carried out at Mumbai Central railway station, Mr. David Nowicki, TIP NaaS Solution Group Co-Chair said, TIP applauds CloudExtel’s remarkable achievement of unlocking transformative capacity in one of the world’s most challenging urban environments utilizing a neutral-host NaaS business model. The 5x Quality of Experience improvement demonstrates why this emerging business model should become the standard at urban train stations and similar venues across the globe.

Mr. Vinish Bawa, Head of Emerging Business and Enterprise India at Nokia said, “We are delighted to partner with RailTel and CloudExtel in delivering higher data speeds and a better customer experience to commuters on Mumbai Central railways with our Multi-Operator RAN solution. Nokia also has a long heritage of working closely with major railway operators to bring the benefits of private LTE connectivity and pave the way for the adoption and deployment of Future Railway Mobile Communication Systems (FRMCS). For operators, these solutions bring cost savings and increased flexibility in their infrastructure deployments.

The entire telecom landscape of India has undergone a transformation largely due to cheaper data connectivity and penetration. Network operators are now seeking shared solutions to bring in cost efficiency without compromising on deliverables to end consumers.


About CloudExtel:

CloudExtel is India’s first full-stack Network as a Service (NaaS) provider, reinventing digital infrastructure connectivity with enhanced coverage, capacity & speed. It caters to telecom operators, internet service providers, data centers, enterprises, and large content providers to address the challenges emerging from the hypergrowth of data consumption in India.

CloudExtel is rapidly building scale to enable the densification of 4G networks and to facilitate the transition to 5G, while driving emerging telecom architecture through ‘cloudification’ of networks.

Through its advanced network solutions, the company has enhanced connectivity in network-stressed, high-footfall iconic locations such as the Golden Temple, Varanasi Ghats, Gateway of India, Jalianwala Bagh, National Stock Exchange, Mantralaya Mumbai. CloudExtel caters to 20% of partner-deployed small cell requirements of large Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) through 4000 sites across 300+ towns and districts.

The imminent global shift to Open RAN (O-RAN) and Network Virtualization is expected to redefine the telecom and internet space. CloudExtel is set to leverage this transition. It is the first neutral host to deploy shared RAN in India, one of less than 10 players globally. The success of the shared RAN solution holds promises for the customers of such highly populated and highly crowded areas to have better mobile data usage experience.

About RailTel:

RailTel, a ‘Mini Ratna (Category-I)’ Central Public Sector Enterprise under Ministry of Railways, is one of the largest neutral telecom infrastructure & ICT Solutions & Services providers in the country, owning a Pan-India optic fiber network covering several towns and cities and rural areas of the country.

Along with a strong a reliable network of 61000+ RKM of Optic fibre, RailTel has two MeitY empanelled tier III data centers as well. With its Pan-India high-capacity network, RailTel is working towards creating a knowledge society at various fronts and has been selected for implementation of various mission-mode projects for the Government of India in the telecom field. RailTel offers a bundle of services like, MPLS VPN, Telepresence, leased line, Tower Co-location, Data center services, etc.

RailTel is also working with the Indian Railways to transform railway stations into digital hubs by providing public Wi-Fi at railway stations across the country and 6100+ stations are live with RailTel’s RailWire Wi-Fi.


Bharti Airtel to launch 5G services in India this August; Reliance Jio to follow

After numerous delays, India’s government finally completed its 5G spectrum auction on its seventh day.  5G spectrum worth 1.5 trillion Indian rupees (US $18.99 billion) being sold to the country’s three mobile network operators – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea – and Adani Group, with Jio emerging as the top bidder, according to media reports.

Bharti Airtel has announced that it has awarded its first 5G contract in the country to Ericsson with 5G deployment to get underway in August 2022. Ericsson is Airtel’s long-standing connectivity partner and pan-India managed services provider, with a partnership spanning more than 25 years. The latest 5G partnership follows the close of 5G spectrum auctions in India. In a statement, Airtel said that it will deploy power-efficient 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) products and solutions from the Ericsson Radio System and Ericsson microwave mobile transport solutions.

The company also signed agreements with Nokia and Samsung to build 5G capacity in India. Under the agreement, Nokia will provide equipment for AirScale portfolio, including modular and scalable baseband as well as high-capacity 5G massive MIMO radios.

Meanwhile, Ericsson will be providing 5G connectivity in 12 circles for Bharti Airtel.  In addition to an enhanced user experience for Airtel customers – spanning ultra-high-speeds, low latency and large data handling capabilities – Ericsson 5G network products and solutions will also enable Bharti Airtel to pursue new, innovative use cases with its enterprise and industry customers, claimed the company.

Bharti Airtel has announced that it has acquired 19,800 MHz spectrum by securing a pan-India footprint of 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands. This spectrum bank was secured for a total consideration of Rs 43,084 crore in the latest spectrum auction conducted by the Department of Telecom, Government of India. Airtel acquired 19,867.8 MHz spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100MHz, 3300 MHz and 26 GHz frequency bands for Rs 43,084 crore. Airtel has secured 5G spectrum for 20 years in this auction.

Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal, MD and chief executive officer said, “As our trusted, long-term technology partner, we are delighted to award our first 5G contract to Ericsson for 5G deployment in India. “5G presents a game-changing opportunity to drive the digital transformation of industries, enterprises and the socio-economic development of India. With our 5G network, we aim to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity, fuel India’s journey towards a digital economy and strengthen the country’s position on the world stage.”

“5G presents a game-changing opportunity to drive the digital transformation of industries, enterprises and the socio-economic development of India. With our 5G network, we aim to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity, fuel India’s journey towards a digital economy and strengthen the country’s position on the world stage.”

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, says: “We look forward to supporting Bharti Airtel with its deployment of 5G in India. With Ericsson’s unrivaled, global 5G deployment experience, we will help Bharti Airtel deliver the full benefits of 5G to Indian consumers and enterprises, while seamlessly evolving the Bharti network from 4G to 5G. 5G will enable India to realize its Digital India vision and foster inclusive development of the country.”

Reliance Jio may also launch 5G in August:

It is likely that arch rival Reliance Jio too may launch the 5G services this month. “We will celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ with a pan India 5G rolloutJio is committed to offering world-class, affordable 5G and 5G-enabled services. We will provide services, platforms and solutions that will accelerate India’s digital revolution, especially in crucial sectors like education, healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing and e-governance,” said Akash M Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Jio Infocomm.

However, no disclosure of Jio’s 5G vendor(s) over two years after Ambani said Jio was developing its own “homegrown” 5G network equipment. The Business Standard reports that Jio had selected Samsung to build its pan-India 5G network.



India government wants “home-grown” 5G; BSNL and MTNL will emerge as healthy

The Indian government wants to promote local companies and startups for the development of 5G technology in India, said K Rajaraman, secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT).  Rajaraman urged stakeholders to come together to ensure that the required technology stack for 5G is produced within the country.

India must “strongly promote local companies and try and test out various components; we should set up test pilots and do experiments so that we create local champions,” Rajaraman said at a telecom investor’s roundtable in Mumbai. The Telecom Department will act as a matchmaker to ensure that those who have ideas and seek investment are matched with industry players, after the necessary due diligence, said VL Kantha Rao, additional secretary (T), DoT. Calling for early-stage companies and startups to join the upcoming phase in the telecom industry, Rajaraman also urged stakeholders to share their views about what the government needs to do in terms of taking India to a global presence in the telecom sector.

“We expect that the R&D fund from USOF (Universal Service Obligation Fund) will act as a seed fund for bringing in more investment from the industry. C-DOT (Centre for Development of Telematics) has set up a collaborative platform where industry investment can be leveraged to create technology stack which can be used by industry to approach markets,” he said.

Note that over two years ago, Reliance Jio Chairman Mukesh Ambani said it had developed its own 5G solution “from scratch.”  Yet none of that 5G solution has been even trialed, let alone deployed yet.

5G would enable Indian residents to get 100 Mbps speeds on the move, and that the cumulative economic impact of 5G can reach $1 trillion by 2035 in the country. Rajaraman also invited all telecom industry stakeholders to participate in the India Mobile Congress in September to demonstrate the indigenous technologies and market them to foreign investors, adding that there will be a technical session on 6G as well. The government is also looking to radically reform the existing regulatory framework for the telecom industry to encourage investments and advance planning, Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said on Thursday.  Vaishnaw had also said that the government was working on a mechanism to provide `500 crore annual R&D support to the industry.

DoT recently floated a consultation paper seeking comments on how to reform the legal framework of telecommunications, to bring it in sync with global developments and changing technologies.


The Indian government said on Saturday that state-owned BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd) and MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, Mumbai – a Public Sector Undertaking of the Government of India under the Ministry of  Telecommunications) will emerge as healthy entities after receiving the Rs 1.64-lakh crore revival package approved by the Cabinet, while adding that reforms in the telecom sector – including having a contemporary legal set-up – will continue as the market migrates to 5G networks.

Vaishnaw said BSNL and Vodafone Idea will benefit from reforms  that were handed out to the industry and thus prevent the chances of a duopoly – with Reliance Jio and Airtel being the only telco providers in India. “With the balance sheet of companies getting cleaned up after the September reforms and de-stressing of their operations, most players are now ready for new capex cycles. The banks are also willing to support investments. The industry is also confident,” Vaishnaw told media persons in Mumbai, where he met top investors and private equity players during the day.

Speaking on speculations around duopoly building up, he said the reforms have ensured that every company gets a chance to grow and become healthy. “Duopoly will not happen. Competition is maintained very clearly. The September reforms have resulted in good stability in the industry. We are looking at newer players who want to enter. We will see healthy competition in the sector.” On BSNL, the minister said that the PSU acts as a “market balancer” and will be a stable company. “Clearly, today the industry is stable, and past concerns don’t exist any more.” On the government’s decision to pick up around 33% stake in Vodafone Idea in lieu of the company’s interest liabilities over a period of four years, he said the company will still be managed as an independent entity.


All this talk from Telecom Ministers while India has FINALLY commenced its 5G spectrum auction which is apparently going well.


Govt: Telecom reforms to go on as market migrates to 5G

Reliance Jio claim: Complete 5G solution from scratch with 100% home grown technologies


Adani Group planning to enter India’s long delayed 5G spectrum auction

Indian conglomerate [1.] is believed to be one of the four companies that (on Friday July 8th) has showed interest in the Indian government’s long delayed 5G spectrum auction. The move would expand the conglomerate’s presence to a sector dominated by established wireless telcos – Reliance Jio, Sunil Mittal-controlled Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea Ltd.  

India’s telecom department’s upcoming auction includes the coveted 5G band needed for high-speed wireless internet connectivity. 

Note 1. Adani Group is a diversified organization in India with market cap of over $182.02 billion (as of July 8, 2022) composed of 7 publicly traded companies. It has created a world class transport and utility infrastructure portfolio that has a pan-India presence. Adani Group is headquartered in Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat, India. Over the years, Adani Group has positioned itself to be the market leader in its transport logistics and energy utility portfolio businesses focusing on large scale infrastructure development in India with O & M practices benchmarked to global standards. With four IG rated businesses, it is the only Infrastructure Investment Grade issuer in India.


Four independent sources told Business Standard that the  was interested in getting into telecom where it has no experience whatsoever.

Under India’s telecom regulations, the Adani entity would require a unified access service (UAS) permit from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to participate in the 5G airwaves auction.

The four telecom bidders would first have to provide ownership details by July 12th and later a bidder-ownership compliance certificate. After that, there will be a pre-qualification of bidders.  will have the right to withdraw auction applications by July 19 and bidders will be announced the next day. The auction is expected to begin on July 27.

Experts are divided about the possible strategy of the Gautam Adani-led . Some say it is investing heavily in data centres, with a view to making it an enterprise business. It has tied up with international company EdgeConnex for a 50-50 joint venture to build and operate large data centres in Chennai, Navi Mumbai, Noida, Vizag, and Hyderabad.

Adani’s enterprise data business will compete with Indian telecom companies and international tech giants like Amazon and Google. It would be a smart move to buy a limited quantity of millimetre band spectrum — it offers high speed and is relatively cheap – and support it by a small amount of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band.

Other experts believe the Adani group might be planning to enter into 5G services and compete with established companies before likely acquiring or collaborating with an existing player.

 agency PTI, while quoting unnamed sources, reported that Adani was the fourth applicant in the telecom auction and had obtained National Long Distance (NLD) and International Long Distance (ILD) licences.

Image Credit:  Adani Group



India’s 5G auction delayed again to April-May 2022 – Credibility Gap?

In India: What if Jio, Vi, and Airtel Skip 5G and Focus on 4G?

Telcos worldwide have already spent billions of dollars on setting up infrastructure, permissions, spectrum, and more for 4G and it is also bringing them plenty of revenues. While 5G will open up a whole new revenue stream from the enterprise sector, are the telcos really desperate for it?  India has yet to hold its first 5G auction which has been repeatedly delayed.

Reliance Jio,  Vodafone Idea (Vi), and Bharti Airtel are the only three PAN-India 4G operators in India right now. All the telcos have hundreds of millions of users in their subscriber base to whom they provide 4G network services. There are 2G users as well, but that’s a conversation for another day. Today, what I want to talk about is what if Jio, Vi, and Airtel don’t roll out 5G and just focus on 4G? Note that I very well know this isn’t going to happen. However, I couldn’t help but wonder, what if the telcos just went on with their usual 4G network services and didn’t care about 5G because of the steep spectrum price and the decision of the government to allow the enterprises to get airwaves directly in an administrative manner for captive private networks?

To be very honest, 5G doesn’t seem like the biggest deal-breaker for the telcos right now. From an investor perspective, the kind of expenditure that 5G would entail in 2022, factoring in spectrum price, among other things, doesn’t feel like a very solid option for Jio, Vi, or Airtel. Not to forget, Vi doesn’t even have the capacity to make large investments for 5G in the first place. Expenditure is not the issue; RoI (return on investment) is!

But one thing’s proven for the telecom operators – revenues from 4G networks. They have already spent billions of dollars on setting up infrastructure, permissions, spectrum, and more for 4G, and it is also bringing them plenty of money. While 5G will open up a whole new revenue stream from the enterprise sector, are the telcos really desperate for it? Well, I would argue not, despite fully acknowledging the fact that all the private companies just want to make more money. So, what will happen if the telcos really don’t go for 5G? Let’s take a look at the negatives first.


The most obvious thing would be that consumers won’t get to see 5G anytime this year in any part of the nation. Second, enterprises would be very unhappy as not all of them might be looking to get the airwaves directly for setting up private 5G networks. Third, it would potentially affect the sales of 5G smartphones. Fourth, India will be left even further behind other nations in 5G network technology.


A delayed 5G rollout would mean that more users would start owning 5G smartphones over the long horizon and when telcos do launch 5G, it will be a more than ready market for them to monetise through retail consumers. Second, the industry and the government would get more time to sort through policies and the telcos would get sufficient room to set up a denser infrastructure.

Moreover, the telecom industry can upskill more people with knowledge about technologies such as 5G, AI, ML, and more which are going to be very relevant.

Again, it is unlikely that the telcos will miss out on 5G this year. But even if they do, I don’t think it is that big of an issue both from a consumer and an investor’s point of view. A seamless 4G experience is still something Indian consumers crave for! Hopefully, that is sorted along with the 5G rollout.


What if Jio, Vi, and Airtel Skip 5G and Focus on 4G

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