Airtel claiming a national “first” with 700 MHz 5G trial
Indian operator Bharti Airtel has launched what it claims to be India’s first 5G trial in the 700 MHz spectrum band in partnership with Finnish vendor Nokia, the former said in a release.
The 5G trial was conducted on the outskirts of Kolkata and it was also the first 5G trial in Eastern India.
Airtel has been allotted test spectrum in multiple bands by the government’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the validation of 5G technology and use cases.
Airtel and Nokia were able to achieve high speed wireless broadband network coverage of 40 Kilometers between two 3GPP standard 5G sites in real life conditions. Airtel used equipment from Nokia’s 5G portfolio, which included Nokia AirScale radios and standalone (SA) core.
Randeep Singh Sekhon, CTO at 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.”
“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,” said Naresh Asija, VP at Nokia.
Last month, Bharti Airtel and Ericsson have conducted what they claim is India’s first 5G network demonstration in a rural geography. The demonstration took place in the village of Bhaipur Bramanan village, on the outskirts of Delhi.
Airtel noted that the trial showcased the potential offered by 5G towards bridging the digital divide by enabling access to high speed broadband through solutions such as enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services. The trial was carried out using 3.5 Ghz mid-band test 5G spectrum — awarded to Airtel by India’s Department of Telecom for the purposes of the trial. Existing FDD spectrum was also used during the trial.
In July, Intel and Bharti Airtel had announced a collaboration to drive network development of 4G and 5G virtualized radio access network (vRAN) and open radio access network (RAN) technology.
Bharti Airtel has also recently rolled out a business initiative to demonstrate a wide range of enterprise grade use cases using 5G networks.
As part of the #5GforBusiness initiative, Airtel is joining forces with Accenture, AWS, Cisco, Ericsson, Google Cloud, Nokia and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to work with industry brands such as Apollo Hospitals, Flipkart and several leading manufacturing companies to test 5G based solutions.
Airtel noted that these solutions will be deployed on 5G test spectrum awarded to Airtel and include use cases like Smart Factory, Smart Healthcare, 5G powered Quality inspection, Digital Twin, connected frontline workforce and AR/VR based use cases.
Headquartered in India, Airtel is a global communications solutions provider with over 474 million customers in 18 countries across South Asia and Africa.
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