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Bharti Airtel, Ericsson conduct 5G trials in rural India, clock 100 mbps speed

Bharti Airtel has said it will be able to deploy 5G over its existing nationwide 4G infrastructure. (Photo: Reuters)Premium
Bharti Airtel has said it will be able to deploy 5G over its existing nationwide 4G infrastructure. (Photo: Reuters)

  • Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea were allotted spectrum to conduct 5G trials in select cities across India in May. The 5G solution deployment was possible due to enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless access services

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BENGALURU: Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's second-largest telecom company, on Tuesday said it clocked speeds of 100mbps on a 5G-enabled mobile device in a test that was part of a rural pilot undertaken by the telco and Swedish networking and telecommunications company, Ericsson.

The test took place at the outskirts of Delhi/NCR, in a village called Bhaipur Bramanan, utilising the 5G trial spectrum allocated to Airtel by the Department of Telecom.

The development follows Airtel's announcement of a Rs5,000 crore investment in data centres, which will need 5G connectivity in the near future to support large enterprise networking and government-based use cases.

In May, telecom services providers Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea were allotted spectrum to conduct 5G trials in select cities across India. The 5G solution deployment was possible due to enhanced mobile broadband (Embb) and fixed wireless access (FWA) services.

Embb refers to an extension of services first introduced by 4G LTE networks, which allows for a wider coverage area at high data rates. It will be able to support peak data rates for a large audience, as well as users who are traveling. FWA is the process by which wireless broadband is provided through radio links between two fixed points. It is a microwave-based technology capable of sending and receiving high-speed data.

“5G will be a transformational technology when it comes to delivering broadband coverage to the last mile through use cases like FWA and contribute to a more inclusive digital economy," said Randeep Singh Sekhon, chief technology office, Bharti Airtel.

The trial demonstrated speeds of over 200 mbps on 5G compliant devices, at a distance of 10 kms away from the site. On a 5G-enabled mobile phone, 100 mbps was the top speed recorded. This translated to an area coverage of 20 km where high-speed broadband coverage can be received, the company said.

The 5G site utilised Ericsson’s 3GPP-compliant 5G radio. 3GPP, short for ‘The 3rd Generation Partnership Project’, is an umbrella term for number of standards organisations who develop protocols for mobile telecommunications.

Airtel said it will be able to deploy 5G over its existing nationwide 4G infrastructure.

“5G will serve as a socio-economic multiplier for the country. According to an Ericsson study, on average, a 10 per cent increase in the Mobile Broadband adoption ratio causes a 0.8 per cent increase in GDP," said Nunzio Mirtillo, Head of Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania and India.

The Department of Telecommunications is expected to hold auctions for 5G spectrum in February next year.

A June 2021 study by Ericsson has forecast that India will have 330 million 5G subscribers by 2026, with the average smartphone user using about 40 GB of data daily. Current data consumption stands at 14.6 GB per month.

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