India Telcos say private networks will kill 5G business

India’s top tier wireless network operators have called on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) – India’s telecom sector regulator – to scrap the proposed move to administratively allocate 5G spectrum on demand for private enterprise networks through a publicized online portal-based process, warning that such a step could destroy the 5G business case in the country.

The businesses have mentioned that such a proposal, if accepted by the federal government, might probably rob telcos of their future 5G enterprise revenues – estimated at round 40% of the whole for 5G.  Revenue loss to such an extent won’t justify needed capital expenditure in establishing 5G networks, they’ve argued.

In its newest suggestions on 5G spectrum pricing, the Trai has advised that non-public enterprises straight acquire 5G spectrum from the federal government and set up their very own captive wi-fi non-public community (CWPNs). It has additionally beneficial a “gentle contact’ on-line portal-based regime” for buying such permissions/licences for establishing CWPNs. Trai has additionally advised that non-public enterprises have the choice to lease spectrum from telcos to arrange their very own captive non-public 5G networks.

“By permitting non-public captive networks for enterprises, Trai is dramatically altering the trade dynamics and hurting the monetary well being of the telecom trade reasonably than bettering it,” the Mobile Operators Affiliation of India (COAI) said in an announcement Tuesday, April 12th.

The COAI represents Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Thought (Vi). It added that “enterprise companies represent 30-40% of the (telecom) trade’s total revenues…non-public networks as soon as once more dis-incentivises the telecom industry to spend money on networks and in addition proceed paying excessive levies and taxes.”

The COAI has urged Trai to revisit its newest suggestions and disallow non-public enterprise networks to make sure monetary viability and orderly progress of the telecom trade that, it mentioned, is greater than able to delivering these companies to companies.

India’s mobile carriers had earlier advised Trai that any proposal to put aside 5G spectrum for personal enterprise networks for captive use both at no cost or at an administrative worth would even be legally untenable.

Trai has beneficial that the spectrum for personal networks be assigned administratively on demand by way of a extensively publicized on-line portal-based course of in a good and clear method. However the regulator has left it to the telecom division to determine whether or not such administrative allocation can be legally tenable or not, based mostly on DoT’s spectrum allocation coverage.

In its 5G dialogue paper, Trai had mentioned the likes of Germany, Finland, UK, Brazil, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan had put aside spectrum within the mmWave band for personal captive 5G networks, whereas Slovenia, Sweden and Korea deliberate to put aside each mmWave and mid-band 5G spectrum for such captive networks.

Subsequently, Tata Communications (TCL), Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and cigarette maker ITC had strongly countered the telcos’ place, and known as on Trai to again earmarking devoted spectrum non-public captive networks and undertake international practices to create a personal 5G ecosystem for enterprises to drive the federal government’s Make in India imaginative and prescient.

However one other high telco government mentioned that if operators’ potential 5G income flows from the profitable enterprise enterprise vertical dry up, they might see little enterprise sense in bidding aggressively for 5G airwaves within the upcoming sale.

Bulk of the bidding urge for food for 5G airwaves, he mentioned, stems from the sturdy income potential of the B2B enterprise enterprise. But when that income stream disappears, telcos gained’t have a viable enterprise case to splurge huge cash on 5G spectrum, particularly as they’ve sufficient spectrum to proceed their current cellular broadband companies operations.”

Know-how corporations, although, have strongly backed Trai’s name to permit non-public enterprises to straight acquire 5G spectrum from the federal government by way of the executive route.

“By way of non-public networks, Trai’s suggestions handle the pursuits of TSPs (telecom service suppliers), enterprises and the general public as extra non-public networks would result in extra employment alternatives and enterprise, and translate into larger financial output and advantages,” mentioned the Broadband India Discussion board (BIF), which counts Cisco, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Fb-owner Meta, Qualcomm and Intel amongst its key members.

Earmarking unique spectrum for personal 5G networks, it mentioned, would additionally present an “enchancement over common SLAs (service level agreements) of public networks, moreover guaranteeing full lack of interference between them”.

BIF added that Trai’s name for task of spectrum administratively for personal 5G networks “is most acceptable” because it has thought of that captive wi-fi non-public networks should not public networks and don’t have any market prospects, and are restricted to a selected location.”

Trai chairman PD Vaghela termed the 5G spectrum rates “reasonable”, saying they have been arrived at after considering various factors including quantum of spectrum offered, competition in the market and profitability.


April 18, 2022 Addendum:

Spectrum users have started squabbling over the telecom regulator’s recommendation to earmark certain bands for captive wireless private networks.

The cellular operators under the COAI have opposed regulator suggestions of allowing enterprises to build their own private 5G networks for captive purposes.

The suggestion has been welcomed by the Broadband India Forum (BIF).

Technology players such as Facebook, Google, Indian Space Association (ISpA) want the 28.5GHz band spectrum to be reserved and allocated exclusively for satellite communications (satcom) services.

The COAI said “by allowing private captive networks for enterprises, telecom regulator Trai is dramatically altering the industry dynamics and hurting the financial health of the industry rather than improving it”.

“Telecom service providers have and going forward will invest lakhs of crore rupees in network rollouts. Enterprise services constitute 30-40 per cent of the industry’s overall revenues. Private networks once again disincentivises the telecom industry to invest in networks and continue paying high levies and taxes.”

The Broadband India Forum (BIF), the industry body of tech players such as Facebook and Google, welcomed the recommendations to allow private networks.

Home / Business / Telcos flay plan for private 5G networks

Telcos flay plan for private 5G networks

The Broadband India Forum (BIF), the industry body of tech players such as Facebook and Google, welcomed the recommendations to allow private networks
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R. Suryamurthy   |   New Delhi   |   Published 18.04.22, 04:17 AM

Spectrum users have started squabbling over the telecom regulator’s recommendation to earmark certain bands for captive wireless private networks.

The cellular operators under the COAI have opposed regulator suggestions of allowing enterprises to build their own private 5G networks for captive purposes.


The suggestion has been welcomed by the Broadband India Forum (BIF).

Technology players such as Facebook, Google, Indian Space Association (ISpA) want the 28.5GHz band spectrum to be reserved and allocated exclusively for satellite communications (satcom) services.

The COAI said “by allowing private captive networks for enterprises, telecom regulator Trai is dramatically altering the industry dynamics and hurting the financial health of the industry rather than improving it”.

“Telecom service providers have and going forward will invest lakhs of crore rupees in network rollouts. Enterprise services constitute 30-40 per cent of the industry’s overall revenues. Private networks once again disincentivises the telecom industry to invest in networks and continue paying high levies and taxes.”

The Broadband India Forum (BIF), the industry body of tech players such as Facebook and Google, welcomed the recommendations to allow private networks.

“In terms of private networks, Trai’s recommendations are balanced and practical and address the interests of the telcos, the enterprises, as well as the public – since more private networks would lead to more employment opportunities and business, and in turn, translate into greater economic output and benefits,” BIF said.

The Indian Space Association (IsPA) said “we welcome Trai’s recommendation that calls for coexistence of satellite communications and IMT in the 27.5-28.5GHz band. We also appreciate recommending an exclusion zone for satellite earth stations in the 27.5-28.5GHz band.”

IsPA opposed the inclusion of all spectrum in the 24.25-28.5GHz bands along with low and mid bands in the auction as it was a case of oversupply to the telecom operators at the cost of the satellite industry.

“The 24.25-27.5GHz bands along with  3.3-3.67GHz bands would be more than sufficient for 5G. Therefore, in line with the global best practices, the 28GHz band should be allocated exclusively for satellite communications,” it added.

In its recent recommendations, telecom regulator Trai said spectrum in three bands – 3700-3800MHz, 4800-4990MHz and 28.5-29.5GHz band – could be earmarked for captive wireless private networks which, it felt, could co-exist with non-IMT services.

In the 28.5-29.5 MHz band, Trai said: “A software based transparent system should be built to permit the establishment of private networks and satellite earth Stations based on the geo-coordinates of the proposed location on interference free co-existence basis.”

The regulator added: “DoT should develop a digital map with geographic coordinates of all the existing and future satellite earth stations as well as geographic coordinates of the premises of Private Network locations. Based on this database, permissions for establishment of new installations may be provided to the licensees.”


Related:  IEEE/SCU SoE Panel Session on Open RAN and 5G Private Networks:


India Data Center firms seek captive fiber for faster and more efficient connectivity

India data center providers have urged the government to allow them to lay their own captive fiber optic networks to offer faster and more efficient connectivity to companies.  India’s current laws around fiber usage require data center operators to depend on telecom service providers for the fiber. That increases prices, makes the process time consuming and impacts ease of business,  senior industry executives told ET.

–>The data center sector does not want to be governed by the same rules as telecom operators since it will become expensive and onerous to lay the fiber.

IT industry body Nasscom has also supported the data center industry’s demands through a recent submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).  Nasscom has called for allowing data center companies to lay their own dark fiber between two or more data centers of the same company, to connect customers’ equipment located within such centers.

The biggest challenge affecting data center operations and services in India is around the telecom licenses to connect data centers that are not part of the same campus, Vimal Kaw, NTT’s head of data center services, told the Economic Times (ET).

“In India, telecom is regulated, and a license is required for data center providers to be able to create a network of connected data centers spanning across locations within a city or across cities. Thus, provisions need to be made by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) and government in the current regulatory framework to enable data center providers to connect DCs using dark fiber to offer services to DC customers,” Kaw said. Typically, companies pay licensed telecom/internet service providers (TSPs/ISPs) on an annual contract basis.

TSPs, in turn, pay a share of their revenue to the government, irrespective of public or private use of the services. If data center businesses want to set up their own dark fiber networks, they will have to come to a similar revenue share arrangement under current laws, which companies say is not feasible for business-to-business networks.“

Sourcing fiber networks through ISPs/ TSPs can lead to exorbitant prices for data center providers, plus it is a time-consuming process. Meanwhile, getting an ISP license for captive usage is even more expensive. Acknowledging the specific need of the data center ecosystem can go a long way in enabling us to extend our services to newer regions,” said Piyush Somani, CEO of ESDS Software.

Nasscom  told Trai that traditional networks operated by TSPs are principally designed for voice or public data services, not for cloud services, which require very high availability, bandwidth, and low latency for extremely high amounts of data.

India IT industry body Nasscom has also supported the data center industry’s demands through a recent submission to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai).


Data centers depend on captive dark fiber connectivity sourced from telecom operators to expand their presence, Ashish Aggarwal, head of policy, Nasscom told ET. But the process is time consuming and inefficient for the data center ecosystem. “Laying dark fiber is not a TSP activity in the traditional sense because it’s a captive network. For the benefit of ease of business, data centres should be allowed to lay their own fibre networks,” Aggarwal said.

Sunil Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Yotta Infrastructure, said the government can possibly set up a mechanism – either a mandatory obligation or subsidization/incentivization, or both — for this purpose.“   Additionally, data center operators should be allowed to lay their fiber optic cable and develop their own managed network to connect to other data centers, landing stations, and other key buildings of interest like stock exchanges,” he added.

Meanwhile, telecom operator Reliance Jio, in its submission to Trai has urged the regulator to only back fiber connectivity to data centers via licensed entities. Bharti Airtel has said that if right of way issues around fiber connectivity are resolved, the process can become more efficient.


India’s 5G may lag due to low telecom infrastructure growth rate and insufficient fiber for backhaul

ICRA: Indian Telecom Industry Must Migrate from Copper to Dense Fiber Optic Networks


5G in India to be launched in 2023; air traffic safety a concern; 5G for agricultural monitoring to be very useful

Telecom Service Providers, informed India’s Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan on Wednesday that 5G mobile services are likely to be launched during the second half of the year 2022-23. The minister, in a written reply to Lok Sabha, also denied any impact of the 5G wave on airlines’ communication system. “The frequency band opened for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including 5G Technology, in India has enough guard bands to ensure that there is no aeronautical interference. Therefore, the question of conducting study does not arise,” informed the minister.

In January, the 6,000-pilotstrong Federation of Indian Pilots wrote to Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia and requested him to ask the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI ) work in tandem to develop a plan that enables the safe and efficient implementation of fifth generation (5G) mobile communications networks in the C-band. On the infrastructure required for 5G, Devusinh Chauhan said the infrastructure required for rolling out 5G services in the country is to be developed by the TSPs based on requirements and their business plan. The proposed 5G spectrum auction in the country is likely to be held before the month of August. At present, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is expected to come out with its recommendations for the upcoming 5G auction by the end of this month.  Once the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India submits its report, the department of telecommunications (DoT) will commence the process to auction the airwaves.

Separately, Dr P D Vaghela, Chairman of TRAI said that Hyderabad States will attract more investments and generate employment with a robust telecom infrastructure, which will lead to an enhanced economy.

 “For the implementation of industrial automation (industry 4.0), precision agriculture, smart education, automation in healthcare, and many areas, the State governments must strive to have the best and latest telecom technology in their State such as 5G, IoT, AI, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, etc.,” he said. Addressing the Administrative Staff College of India’s (ASCI) online public lecture titled ‘5G: A Next-Generation Technology’, on Wednesday, he spoke on introduction to 5G and key performance indicators, use cases of 5G, role of State governments, the growth of telecom in India, and government initiatives in the broadband and telecom reforms.

In agriculture, he said that 5G was going to be helpful for monitoring along with sensor networks, precision farming, smart irrigation, climate change mitigation, livestock monitoring, and agricultural drones. Apart from being beneficial in smart mining through real-time condition monitoring, he said that in the field of online education and learning which requires high-speed data connectivity, 5G technology is capable of providing the requisite bandwidth for students and institutions. It also augments video surveillance and analytics, solid waste management, and intelligent parking in smart cities, and that the technology would create an immersive experience in video streaming, gaming and sports domain, where user/machine-generated content from smart devices could help users to share data in real time, which is likely to improve the user experience. Vaghela spoke about satellite- based communication being implemented in North- Eastern States and how it was helpful in far-flung hilly and rural areas. Observing that BharatNet project could change the scenario, he said that the last six years had seen a revolutionary change in rural areas in terms of growth of telecom and digital services.


The New Indian Express newspaper


India’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for 5G equipment attracts Nokia & Ericsson

Nokia and Ericsson said India’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme [1.] for design-led 5G manufacturing will position India as a global manufacturing hub and allow them to deepen their manufacturing capabilities in the country.

Note 1.  PLI is the sum of India government incentives that are directly linked to manufacturing performance. The more goods companies manufacture in India the better incentives they will get. The incentives are of diverse types: subsidies, monetary benefits, etc.


Nokia said it is exploring opportunities to manufacture more products in India in a cost-competitive manner to serve both the local and the global market. Nokia’s India spokesperson said the company was on track to fulfil its investment and production commitments under the existing PLI scheme for telecom equipment.

Swedish telecom equipment vendor Ericsson, in a separate statement, said 5G spectrum auction with 100% fiberization (backhaul) with public-private partnership (PPP) model by 2025 will help bridge the digital divide for an inclusive development of the nation in-line with the ‘Digital India’ vision.

“Design-led initiatives for 5G under the PLI scheme and 5% of USOF for R&D purposes will strengthen the ‘Make in India’ initiative, and contribute to making India a global manufacturing hub,” said Nitin Bansal, managing director for India at Ericsson.

Ericsson, along with Nokia, Akashastha Technologies, HFCL, Foxconn, Coral Telecom, VVDN Technologies, Dixon Technologies, Tejas Networks and GS India, were selected for the original PLI scheme. India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) approved 31 proposals in 2021 entailing investments of INR33.5 billion ($447.3 million) over the next four years.

“The scheme for design-led manufacturing to be launched for the 5G ecosystem as part of PLI will be a boost to the overall telecom and electronic sectors. It will also provide and promote research and development of technology and solutions and will enable affordable broadband and mobile communication,” says Sanjay Gupta, vice president and India managing director, NXP Semiconductors.

Some media reports suggest that it is possible that the funds for this scheme may come from the ongoing PLI scheme for the telecom sector.

The scheme is in keeping with the government’s keenness to position India as a telecom manufacturing destination with a growing emphasis on self-reliance and the domestic manufacturing ecosystem.

Chinese gear makers Huawei and ZTE are yet to receive trusted source approval from the National Cyber Security Coordinator (NCSC), which means the space is open to Indian manufacturers.

It’s possible that the government may mandate the Indian service providers to procure a certain percentage of their requirement from the Indian vendors only.  The PLI scheme is timely, with the announcement that the 5G spectrum auction will be held in 2022.

Service providers are in the midst of conducting 5G trials, and will be investing heavily in 2022 to build networks. 5G capex is likely to increase significantly over the next few years – hopefully helping Indian manufacturers grab some share of the pie.


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

Having failed to hold the long promised 5G spectrum auction in 2021, India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has authorized a 6G Technology Innovation Group (TIG) with the objective to co-create and participate in the development of the 6G technology ecosystem.

In a notification issued dated December 30, the Department mandated immediate deliverables by March 31, 2022 that included mapping of 6G activities and capabilities worldwide, and a white paper on India’s competencies. including research and pre-standardisation activities.

The new task groups are headed by Bhaskar Ramamurthy, director, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Chennai, Abhay Karandikar, director, IIT-Kanpur, Bharadwaj Amrutur, director, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, Kiran Kumar Kuchi, director, IIT-Hyderabad on multi platform for next generation networks, spectrum policy, multi-disciplinary innovative solutions, and devices respectively.

The 6G TIG task force includes members from the government, academia, industry associations, and TSDSI (Telecom Standards Development Society of India).

“With a strong emphasis on technology commercialization, the work will encompass the full lifecycle of research and development, manufacturing, pre-standardisation and market readiness,” the department said in its memorandum.

“This would be necessary to prepare India’s manufacturing and services ecosystem to capitalize on 6G opportunity,” DoT added.

Last month, the government formed an innovation group headed by K Rajaraman, secretary, DoT to create a vision to develop a 6G roadmap in the country.

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea said that an early start into local 6G development will result in IP or intellectual property creation for the Indian telecom ecosystem. They said that there is a need for the Indian telecom industry and academia to join forces with the telecom department and contribute towards the 6G standard building in cooperation with 3GPP.

“…getting into the journey of 6G is absolutely the right time. India has the brainpower which contributes to the R&D. We should bring telcos, the academia, all the brain we have in our very high standard academic institutions and the Indian government together for the development of IPR for technologies…we can actually really start building 6G standards, and in these 6G standards, we cooperate with 3GPP,” Randeep Sekhon, CTO of Bharti AIrtel told ET.


India’s 5G efforts to date have been restricted to 5G NSA trials.  The DoT awarded spectrum to the telcos for six months to conduct 5G trials and develop India-specific use cases. That time period was later extended for another six months at the telcos’ request. The big three India wireless service providers, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, have conducted several 5G tests over the last few months.

The Indian government has announced that the repeatedly postponed 5G spectrum auction will be held in the April-May 2022 timeframe. As per media reports, the target is to launch 5G on August 15th, India’s Independence Day.

Typically, India lags behind developed countries in the adoption of new technologies. The much delayed 5G auction launch in 2022 puts it way behind other countries.

This 6G initiative is truly remarkable since India has not sorted out any of the critical 5G and satellite internet issues it has faced.  Those include:

  • 5G spectrum auction with fair prices to participants.
  • Acceptance of the 5Gi standard within ITU-R M.2150.
  • Reliance Jio’s boast of developing and deploying indigenous (made in India) 5G technology.
  • Indian telco cooperation with hyperscale cloud service providers for 5G core network, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) and virtual RANs.
  • Satellite internet services: Starlink was in the news for pre-booking clients even when it is yet to acquire required approvals from the DoT. The company has now suspended the sale of satellite services until it gets the license. Both SpaceX and OneWeb are likely to launch satellite services in the country in 2022.
  • Spectrum allocation: A major controversy in this segment is the conflict between the three major telcos and satellite internet service providers regarding the spectrum. The telcos are asking for a level playing field with the satellite providers, which means that they should bid for spectrum, just like telcos. However, the satellite players disagree with this.


Reliance Jio trials connected robotics on its “indigenously developed” 5G network

Aayush Bhatnagar, SVP, of Reliance Jio said in a Linkedin post Friday:

Jio has successfully performed trials of Connected Robotics over its indigenously developed 5G RAN and 5G SA core network.  This underlines the true potential of 5G Standalone networks in realizing real-life industrial use cases.

Jio 5G Robotics have implemented a wide canvas of services – from heavy lifting and logistics at manufacturing warehouses, to healthcare robots assisting medical staff – from remote ultrasound enablement to industrial automation robots.

This development opens up exciting possibilities for value creation in Industry 4.0, with direct relevance to businesses and the economy.

Jio’s Bhatnagar has said India’s top telco has undertaken use case trials such as Voice and Messaging over 5G NR (VoNR) using its own home grown 5G RAN and Core network, which it plans to export or license once its 5G technology is tested and deployed throughout India.  Of course, that can’t happen till after the repeatedly delayed 5G spectrum auction (now scheduled for April or May 2022 if not delayed yet again).

Earlier this month, Jio reported it successfully trialed connected drones on its indigenous 5G network, the telco’s senior vice president Aayush Bhatnagar said.  The trial involved a precision command and control of drones over 5G using a fleet management system running in the Cloud to perform tasks such as image recognition, track-and-trace, discrete payload pickup, and delivery, drone route sorties, video imagery, real-time drone control, and other applications, the executive added.

“5G-connected drones will enable future use cases across industries and enterprises,” Bhatnagar said.  “At Jio, we have taken another major stride in “Making 5G real” – beyond speed tests and demos. Jio has successfully conducted trials of connected drones on its indigenous 5G network,” Bhatnagar said in a Linkedin post.

Jio has not disclosed all the other companies are helping to design, develop and test their indigenous 5G RAN and Core network. In July, Intel said that it is helping Reliance Jio make the transition from 4G to 5G as part of their 5G infrastructure deal. Intel and Jio are collaborating in the areas of 5G radio, core, cloud, edge and artificial intelligence.

“…our collaboration spans those areas, and it’s co-innovation. So, we have got our engineering and business unit teams working closely with Reliance Jio in those areas. And we are committed towards helping customers and partners like Reliance Jio to make the transition from 4G to 5G,” Prakash Mallya, vice president and Managing Director of sales, marketing and communications group at Intel told Economic Times.

Intel’s investment arm, Intel Capital, had in 2020 invested Rs 1,894.50 crore to buy a 0.39% equity stake in Jio Platforms.

While speaking at Reliance Industries Ltd’s 44th AGM, RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani said that:

“Jio’s engineers have developed a 100 per cent home-grown and comprehensive 5G solution that is fully cloud native, software defined, and digitally managed. Jio’s ‘Made in India‘ solution is complete and globally competitive.”

Ambani also said that his company has achieved 1Gbps download speed on its 5G trial network.

As for Jio’s 5G competitors:

  • Bharti Airtel previously said that it was collaborating with global consulting firm Accenture, along with Amazon Web Service (AWS), Cisco, Ericsson, Google Cloud, Nokia, Tata Consultancy, and unnamed others to demonstrate enterprise-grade use cases using high-speed, low-latency 5G networks.
  • Airtel has been working on the 5 G-based solutions with Apollo Hospitals, Flipkart, and other manufacturing companies.
  • Vodafone Idea (VI) has partnered with Nokia and Ericsson to work on several 5 G-powered applications, including enhanced mobile broadband (emBB), ultra-reliable low latency communications (uRLLC), multi-access edge computing (MEC), and AR/VR.

5G trials began earlier this year in May and in June:

  • Jio reported achieving speeds over 1Gbps during the trial.
  • Airtel also reported achieving over 1Gbps peak speed during its 5G network trial.
  • VI claims to achieve a peak 5G speed of 3.7Gbps on the mmWave spectrum during the network trials in Pune.

Last month, India’s Department of Telecom (DoT) granted a six-month extension for 5G trials in India to telecom operators, including Jio, Airtel, and VI, upon their request. The telecom operators are currently conducting 5G trials in various parts of the country and have achieved tremendous results. However, the extension means that the 5G spectrum auction won’t happen anytime soon. So any 5G commercial launch is still a long way off in India.

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

Vodafone Idea (Vi) is working with a “few companies” to prepare for trials using India’s own 5G standard 5Gi, which is included in ITU-R M.2150 as 5G Radio Interface Technology (RIT) for LMLC- Low Mobility Large Cell. The third largest telco in India said that once the telecom equipment is ready, it will conduct trials using the 5G LMLC technology.

“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 on Friday. He didn’t divulge details of the partners are.

5Gi is currently being evaluated by India’s Telecommunication Engineering Center (TEC) for commercial adoption in India.  Experts believe that 5Gi is a better option for setting up rural connectivity as it is cost-effective, improves spectral efficiency, and reduces spectrum wastage of up to 11 per cent compared to its global counterpart — the 3GPP approved 5G standard. However, existing telecom operators and equipment vendors are not in favor of adopting the local standard as they say 5Gi is yet to show any of these performance gains at a commercial scale.

Vodafone Idea has partnered with L&T Smart World and Communications, Athornet, Vizzbee Robotics, Tweek labs, Athonet, Nokia and Erricson to provide enterprise solutions.  Arvind Nevatia, Chief Enterprise Officer, Vodafone Idea, also said that Vi will be looking to partner with other enterprises now that they have been granted a six month extension on 5G trials.

Vi has been allocated 26 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum in the mmWave band by the DoT, for 5G network trials and use cases. Vi has achieved peak speeds in excess of 1.5 Gbps on 3.5 GHz, more than 4.2 Gbps on 26 GHz and up to 9.8 Gbps on backhaul spectrum of E-bands.

Indian telcos, network equipment and chipset vendors along with handset have opposed the incorporation of 5Gi as a national standard citing compatibility issues with 3GPP’s global 5G standard, which has already been adopted globally for commercial live networks. Telcos had urged the Department of Telecom (DoT) and the TEC to merge 5Gi with 3GPP’s global 5G NR spec to achieve scale and bring down costs, but that has not happened yet.

“We follow the 3gpp standards (they are specs- not standards– and have no official standing) for the core network…along with the firewalls. We are going to ensure whatever we do for our IT and network platform specific for the core data protection policy in coordination with 3GPP. Network slicing ensures data protection for each enterprise…all customers are equally protected in terms of security,” he added.

On Friday, Vodafone Idea (Vi) demonstrated some of the 5G technology solutions and use cases as a part of its ongoing 5G trials on government allocated 5G spectrum in Pune, Maharashtra and Gujarat. These tests come at a time when the three rivals -Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio. and Vi are trying to keep pace with each other in the race towards next generation technology.

Singh added that Vi has 30-35% fiber for backhaul for its wireless network, which it is increasing in urban areas. “5G will be a combination of fiber and E band.”

The company is now preparing to expand the scope of 5G trials and is in talks with its and is in talks with its existing customers and startups. Rival Airtel became the first telco to test 5G technology in the 700Mhz band on Thursday.  The telco will be working with start-ups for more use cases.

“We were not aware that we will be getting an extension for trials till 3-4 weeks back. We were not doing that on a very high intensity basis, but now with the clarity we will restart the process of engagement,” Arvind Nevatia, Chief enterprise business officer, Vi.

The telco highlighted new revenue models, as a result of 5G. “What we are seeing is evolving models from fixed commission basis to subscription models whether it is in the consumer space or the SAAS space , a lot of new revenue models are emerging in the country…. ,” said Nevatia.

However, prices of 5G have been a contentious issue between the sector and the government. Chief regulatory officer P Balaji said the decision will be taken by the government, which is setting up the auction process process including consultation on prices with the regulator.

“We see Vodafone Idea as an active partner in the digital vision of the government and as India develops its own 5G plans , we will be happy to participate”, said Balaji.

The current base price of Rs 492 crore for a unit of 5G spectrum in the 3.3-3.6 GHz band has been deemed too expensive by all three Indian telcos.

Many experts believe that adoption of the ITU-R M.2150 5Gi standard in India by the government will enable India to leap-frog in the 5G space, with key innovations introduced by Indian entities accepted as part of global wireless standards for the first time. The nation stands to gain enormously both in achieving the required 5G penetration in rural and urban areas as well as in nurturing the nascent Indian R&D ecosystem to make global impact. TSDSI’s efforts are aligned with the national digital communication policy that promotes innovation, equipment design and manufacturing out of India for the world market. The TSDSI 5G standard also has the potential to make a significant impact in several countries with poor rural broadband wireless coverage. TSDSI remains committed to the development of globally harmonized 5G standards with substantial innovations to address hitherto neglected needs of countries such as India.  TSDSI-RIT is a step in the right direction so that our indigenous technologies for rural coverage and connectivity find their rightful place in the 5G eco-system that will be deployed in India and elsewhere.

Bharti Airtel conducts 5G SA trial in 700 MHz band with Nokia

Indian network operator Bharti Airtel on Thursday said it has conducted India’s first 5G SA network trial [1.] in the 700 MHz spectrum band in partnership with Nokia.  The demonstration was conducted on the outskirts of Kolkata.  It also marked the first 5G trial in the eastern India, the company said in a statement.

Note 1.  No 5G commercial service  can commence in India till the government auctions 5G spectrum which is scheduled for in the second half of 2022.  However, it has been delayed time after time after time. Airtel has been allotted test spectrum in multiple bands by India’s Department of Telecommunications for the validation of 5G technology and use cases.

Using the 700 MHz band, Airtel and Nokia were able to achieve high speed wireless broadband network coverage of 40 Km between two 5G sites in real life conditions. Airtel used equipment from Nokia’s 5G portfolio, which included Nokia AirScale radios and Standalone (SA) core network.  [Nokia provides a common core network which supports the 4G – EPC and a 5G Core.]

Randeep Singh Sekhon, CTO – Bharti Airtel said: “Back in 2012, Airtel launched India’s first 4G service in Kolkata. Today, we are delighted conduct India’s first 5G demo in the coveted 700 MHz band in the city to showcase the power of this technology standard. We believe that with the right pricing of 5G spectrum in the upcoming auctions, India can unlock the digital dividend and build a truly connected society with broadband for all.”

Naresh Asija, VP and Head of Bharti CT, Nokia, said: “5G deployment using 700Mhz spectrum is helping communications service providers across the world to cost-effectively provide mobile broadband in remote areas, where typically it is challenging for them to set up the network infrastructure. Nokia is at the forefront in the development of the global 5G ecosystem, and we look forward to supporting Airtel on its 5G journey.”

Airtel says they are “spearheading 5G in India.” Earlier this year Airtel demonstrated India’s first 5G experience over a live 4G network. It also demonstrated India’s first rural 5G trial as well as the first cloud gaming experience on 5G. As part of #5GforBusiness, Airtel has joined forces with leading global consulting and technology companies and brands to test 5G based solutions.

About Airtel:

Headquartered in India, Airtel is a global communications solutions provider with over 480 Mn customers in 17 countries across South Asia and Africa. The company ranks amongst the top three mobile operators globally and its networks cover over two billion people. Airtel is India’s largest integrated communications solutions provider and the second largest mobile operator in Africa. Airtel’s retail portfolio includes high speed 4G/4.5G mobile broadband, Airtel Xstream Fiber that promises speeds up to 1 Gbps with convergence across linear and on-demand entertainment, streaming services spanning music and video, digital payments and financial services. For enterprise customers, Airtel offers a gamut of solutions that includes secure connectivity, cloud and data centre services, cyber security, IoT, Ad Tech and cloud based communication.

For more details visit

Nokia Contact:
Mohammed Shafeeq, Media Relations
Phone: +91 9167623398
E-mail: [email protected]


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

The long delayed auction for the 5G spectrum in India is now likely (???) to take place around April-May 2022, Telecommunications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Thursday. While relief measures announced in September this year for telecom operators marked the first set of reforms, the government will bring out a series of further reforms and “telecom regulatory structure should change in coming 2-3 years”, Vaishnaw said at an event in India.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) is working on the modalities of the auction. “Our estimate is by April-May. I think it will take time because Trai consultations are complex, diverse opinions are coming,” Vaishnaw said.

[Credibility gap When he announced the government’s big-bang telecom reforms in September, Vaishnaw had said the auctions would be held in February.]

The telecom department has approached Trai for its recommendations on pricing, amount of 5G spectrum for sale and other modalities.

“The (India) government had budgeted for inflows of nearly Rs 54,000 crore from other communication services for the current year, presumably boosted by the expectation of fresh auction inflows,” according to Aditi Nayar, chief economist, Icra.  “We now assess the inflows from the telecom sector into the government’s 2021-22 non tax revenues to be limited to Rs 28,000 crore, trailing the budgeted Rs 54,000 crore, which will modestly widen its fiscal deficit, “ she said.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

The government is targeting a fiscal deficit of 6.8 per cent of GDP in 2021-22, a big improvement over the previous year when the fiscal deficit shot up to 9.3 per cent in the Covid-affected economy.  The DoT has sought the views of Trai across multiple bands such as 700Mhz, 800 Mhz, 900 Mhz, 1800 Mhz, 2100 Mhz, 2300 Mhz, 2500 Mhz bands as also 3,300-3,600 Mhz that were not put up for auctions in the last round.

On the timeline for 5G auctions, Vaishnaw noted that the Trai is undergoing consultations on the matter. “I think they will submit their report by February-mid is what we are thinking, maybe February-end, maximum to maximum March. Immediately after that, we will have the auctions,” he said.


Starlink to explore collaboration with Indian telcos for broadband internet services

SpaceX subsidiary Starlink is planning to explore collaboration with telecom companies in India to expand broadband internet services in the country with a focus on rural areas, a top company official said on Friday.  Starlink Country Director India Sanjay Bhargava told that discussions with broadband service providers will start once the 12 Phase-1 aspirational districts are identified by the Niti Aayog and the company will see the interest levels of the various players and the USOF (universal service obligation fund).

“I am hoping that we will get a time-bound 100 per cent broadband plan that can serve as a model for other districts but the devil is in the details and there may be many good reasons why one or more broadband providers do not want to collaborate, though to me that seems unlikely,” Bhargava said.

Starlink claims to have received over 5,000 pre-orders from India. The company is charging a deposit of $99 or Rs 7,350 per customer and claims to deliver data speeds in the range of 50-150 megabits per second in the beta stage.

Bhargava had earlier announced that the company will focus on 10 rural Lok Sabha constituencies to provide internet services for 80 per cent of the Starlink terminals shipped to India. “At Starlink, we can roll out fast if we have licensing approval and…the Starlink’s could move to other remote areas,” Bhargava said.  In a social media post, Bhargava said the company wants to collaborate with all. “We want to collaborate with all and have others besides us licensed to provide satellite broadband so that satellite plus terrestrial together can provide 100 per cent broadband, especially in rural districts,” he said.  There have been some reports of Starlink considering manufacturing of terminals to provide satellite broadband services in India, but Bhargava said the company is not actively thinking about making terminals for broadband locally.


Tech billionaire Elon Musk has said on Twitter that his aerospace company SpaceX may soon launch satellite-based internet service Starlink in India. Musk responded to a Twitter post that the company is exploring how the regulatory approval process in the country will work for Starlink.  Musk said, “The regulatory approval process is being explored.”

Starlink recently shipped 100,000 terminals to customers. The objective of this project is to provide global broadband connectivity through a cluster of satellites. SpaceX began satellite launches in November 2019 and opened its $99 (Rs 7,223) per month beta program to select customers about a year later.


starlink plans: Jio-Airtel Vacation! Musk’s internet service is about to be launched, beta users are paying this much for the month – Elon musk has stated on twitter that his satellite based internet service starlink soon in india soon