Bharti Airtel Ltd was the first provider of telecommunications services to show its ability to deploy 5G wireless services in India, stealing a march on rival Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which plans to open the service later this year but has not completed trials.
Bharti revealed on Thursday that it had performed on-field tests in Hyderabad to assess the power to deploy 5G, or 5th generation, services.
The next-generation wireless service, such as driverless vehicles and smart cities, will open the way to lightning fast internet speeds and power Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
The capacity of Airtel to operate 5G networks over its current commercial network is a victory for the company, which for the past several years has struggled to keep up with Mukesh Ambani’s Jio and has surrendered its dominance in the Indian telecommunications sector.
In July of last year, Ambani, president of Reliance Industries Ltd, reported that Jio had created an original 5G solution. It was ready to release the system in the second half of 2021. However, It has not revealed the details of its 5G solution.
Statements Over 5G testing By Airtel:
The Airtel and its officials made many statements after the successful event. “We are the first telco to successfully demonstrate and orchestrate a live 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad. This demonstration emphatically validates the 5G readiness of Airtel’s network across all domains—radio, core and transport”. Gopal Vittal, Airtel’s chief executive, informed reporters at a media briefing.
Apart from the varying timelines, both telcos have said that only with sufficient spectrum supply would a full-fledged 5G deployment be feasible.
The 5G technology from Airtel is promising for providing 10 times better speed and delay efficiency compared to current technologies, the company said.
“In Hyderabad, the company showed that it could download a full-length movie in seconds using its 5G service.” Vittal said. “However, the real impact of 5G experience will be available to our customers only when adequate spectrum is available, and the government approvals are received,” he added.
“Commercial deployment of 5G depends on access to 5G spectrum. The auction for which is not in sight. From the government’s perspective, it would want to be sure of sufficient interest in buying”. A senior telecom expert, Mahesh Uppal said.
“The demand for spectrum will, in turn, reflect whether operators can justify bidding at the proposed high reserve price. The 5G ecosystem is still weak,” Uppal added.
Airtel, as a telco, will play its role in driving the ecosystem, be it applications, content and devices, to deploy 5G to India, Vittal said. “Our network is fully 5G ready and can use any spectrum band to click on the 5G experience in some months,” he said.