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.
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 www.airtel.com
Mohammed Shafeeq, Media Relations
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Japan’s SoftBank plans to work with Ericsson to conduct a joint trial of “5G” in the 4.5-GHz band in dense urban areas of Japan. The end-to-end trial will involve two 5G new radios, a virtual RAN and EPC, beamforming, Massive multiple input multiple output (MIMO) functionality and test support services.
The trial is set to commence once Softbank obtains an experimental 5G license, Ericsson said.
Editors Note: Of course, no one knows what the “5G” air interface/RAN will be for this trial, because it’s not even been considered by ITU-R WP 5D which is standardizing IMT 2020. That 5G standardization work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.
The key question is where will the “5G” endpoints/handsets come from? Ericsson doesn’t make ’em any more! Neither does Nokia which is involved in several other “5G” trials. Huawei and ZTE “5G” trials are in better shape, because both vendors make handsets/smartphones as well as base stations.
3GPP Progress on 5G can be found in this presentation. It’s crucial to note that 3GPP Release 15 (to be completed March 2018) will aim at a first phase of expected “5G” deployments in 2020 and is dependent on LTE. 3GPP Release 16 (true 5G) will target a submission to the ITU WP5D IMT-2020 standards committee.
In March 2017, SoftBank was granted an experimental licence to conduct tests in the 28GHz millimeter wave band and teamed up with Ericsson for trials that were to be conducted in indoor and outdoor environments covering both mobile and stationary tests. That followed more basic tests in the 4.5-GHz and 15-GHz bands in Tokyo in 2016.
The operator also recently announced plans to deploy Ericsson’s Radio Dot system across Japan to improve indoor coverage in high-density urban areas. Softbank has been testing the technology since 2015.
SoftBank announced in June it was working with ZTE to run trials on the 4.5GHz band in areas of metropolitan Tokyo.
SoftBank also is planning tests on the 4GHz and 15GHz bands and began conducting pre-standard 5G field trials with Ericsson in August 2016. It deployed Massive MIMO on its 4G network in the second half of 2016.
The wireless network operator, with a 19 per cent market share in Japan, aims to be one of the first in the world to launch commercial 5G services in 2020 or soon thereafter. SoftBank wants to be one of the first global network operators to deploy 5G services once the standardization process is complete and seeks to position itself as a pioneer of 5G.