Telcos partner up with international vendors for India’s first 5G trials

Published: 16 January 2020 - 7:26 a.m.
By: CommsMEA staff writer

India’s big four telcos have submitted details of their forthcoming 5G trials to the Department of Telecoms, naming which suppliers each telco intends to work with.

A report in the Economic Times of India stated that Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel would partner with Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia and ZTE.

BSNL will work exclusively with ZTE on a series of 5G trials.

The country’s biggest mobile network operator, Reliance Jio, will stick with Samsung for its 5G trials, having worked exclusively with the Korean vendor on its 4G networks.

“Huawei will work with Vodafone Idea and Airtel in Delhi and Bengaluru, respectively for 5G trials. Samsung and Jio will do the trial in Mumbai. Nokia and Ericsson will have similar arrangements with both VIL and Airtel for trials,” a source familiar with the matter told the Economic Times of India.

These initial trials can be seen as a first round interview, as operators look to pair up with the best vendors to facilitate their commercial 5G launches in 2021 and beyond. Undoubtedly, India’s cash strapped operators will be looking to strike deals that enables them to deliver on their Digital India commitments in the most cost effective manner possible. Despite this, the Indian market still holds enormous potential for network equipment providers, due to the size and scale of the country’s networks.

Later this year, India is expected to begin the auction process for 5G spectrum, with Bharti Airtel’s CEO, Gopal Vittal, saying that the country’s mobile network operators will require 1,000MHz of spectrum each in order to provide a comprehensive, nationwide 5G service.

India is expected to begin launching its first, fledgling 5G networks in early to mid-2021.

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