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Local 5G gear to become available by March ’23

Homegrown 5G telecom gear, including core and radio components, could be commercially available by March 2023, per the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The development could make India a global competitor on the telecom gear front.

K Rajaraman, the secretary of DoT, said the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) would be able to commercialise its equipment, which includes radio and core elements. The process is likely to take an extra three to four months.

Incidentally, C-DoT developed the 5G core and radio access network (RAN) for the state-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). A consortium which consists of the telematics centre and led by TCS has been testing the homegrown 5G stack. The proof-of-concept (PoC) network is currently live in Chandigarh.

“The launch [of 5G core] has happened. We are working with some companies to actually get the radios ready because that’s where [the] full stack comes in as it has to include radio and other components,” Rajaraman added.

The development follows after the C-DoT launched the homegrown non-standalone (NSA) 5G core last month. The core is essentially the backbone of a telecom network which transfers networks at high speed.

C-DoT is also developing 5G antennas to complete the 5G stack and reduce India’s dependence on foreign network equipment providers. The state-owned R&D firm would launch 5G standalone (SA) by 2023.

With this, India will join China, South Korea, the US, Sweden and Finland to become a telecom gear manufacturer. The telecom gear market consists of big hitters such as Finland’s Nokia, Sweden’s Ericsson, the US’ Qualcomm and China’s Huawei.

South Korea’s Samsung is also set to become a key player in the coming years, having secured a deal with Reliance Jio last year.

These companies have long enjoyed the patronage of Indian telcos to develop one of the largest telecom networks in the world. However, following the increased geopolitical tensions between India and China, India launched a new set of telecom gear rules which saw Huawei and ZTE barred from India’s 5G rollout.

India’s telcos have mostly announced their plans with the 5G rollout following the mega spectrum sale that took place during the last week of September and the first week of October this year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the first 5G networks on October 1. Eight cities, including Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, received access to 5G first. Inc42

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