Nokia expects 5G field trials in India later this year

Finnish telecom gear maker Nokia expects 5G field trials in India to take place only in the second half of the year, coinciding with the availability of 5G chipsets and smartphones in India. It has already commenced conducting lab trials with its telecom operator partners and said planning for 5G field trials is also underway.

“For the field trials, planning and spectrum are required… trials will only take place in the second half of this year. At the same time, we will have clarity on 5G standards as Release 16 is currently being worked on at 3GPP,” Sanjay Malik, senior of India market at Nokia, told ET in an interaction.

Nokia is presently working with Bharti Airtel and state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd to test 5G technology and define the new technology roadmap as part of separate agreements.

Nokia and other vendors like Ericsson, Huawei, Samsung, Cisco, and NEC had last year got permission from the telecom department to organize 5G field trials in India. Nokia has already submitted its proposals for doing trials in the Delhi-NCR region and Bengaluru.

Gear vendors and telecom operators are awaiting clarity over the allotment of free spectrum for 5G field trials as they want the spectrum for at least a year. The wireless planning wing of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had previously made it transparent that free spectrum for 5G trials can be allocated only for 90 days, citing current rules.

The government is confident of rolling out 5G in tandem with global markets in 2020 and is making all efforts to meet the deadline for the NextGen technology, which could have an economic impact of more than $1 trillion in the country.

Meanwhile, Nokia’s annual Mobile Broadband India Traffic (MBiT) Index study revealed that 4G LTE contributed to 92% of total data traffic in 2018 in India even as the overall data traffic grew 109%. The 4G growth came at the cost of 3G data traffic, which has recorded a marginal decrease in 2018.

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