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5G trial review meet on April 1

The department of telecommunications (DoT) is scheduled to undertake a review meeting with mobile operators on April 1 regarding 5G trials. The meeting has been called to clear doubts and clarify issues raised by the industry around the trials. According to sources, the industry is also likely to seek clarity around participation of Chinese players Huawei and ZTE in the trials.

Last month also, there was a meeting between DoT officials and telecom industry around the trials. The DoT has also given an update to PMO about the progress in conducting trials after being pulled up by the standing committee on information technology, chaired by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, for not doing sufficient preparatory work to launch 5G services.

The committee has said that at a time when many countries are swiftly moving towards 5G technology, India is likely to witness its deployment only by the end of 2021 or early part of 2022, that too partially.

“So, it is very likely that after missing the 2G, 3G, and 4G bus, India is going to miss on 5G opportunities, unless time-bound action is taken in core areas where governmental intervention is required. It is disappointing to note that the department has hardly learnt from the past delays,” the panel noted.

Although telecom operators had submitted their applications in January last year, the trials have not been conducted so far. One of the reasons for the delay include concerns around participation of Chinese players Huawei and ZTE.

Telecom operators have submitted multiple applications for the trials with multiple vendors. To start with, approvals will be given to those applications termed as priority by telecom operators. The government will allocate 3.5 Ghz spectrum for the trials to the operators.

The trials will give an opportunity to Reliance Jio to test its locally developed 5G solution. The company had earlier sought approval from DoT for lab testing of its solution.

Globally there are 118 operators in 59 countries that have deployed 5G network. Currently, the 5G network covers around 7% of the world population and it is expected that by 2025, 20% of the world population will be covered by 5G. Countries where 5G has been launched include USA, Canada, UK, European Union nations, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain. The Financial Express

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