The operator says it is ready to deploy commercial 5G as soon it is permitted to do so by the regulator
Bharti Airtel has today announced the successful test of 5G on a live commercial network in Hyderabad. According to CEO Gopal Vittal, this makes the operator the first in the country to rollout the new technology in the field.
The tech milestone was achieved using Airtel’s existing 1,800 MHz and the use of non-standalone technology. The test made use of dynamic spectrum sharing in order to operate both 4G and 5G simultaneously over the same spectrum block.
“Every one of our investments is future proofed as this game changing test in Hyderabad proves. With Airtel being the first operator to demonstrate this capability, we have shown again that we have always been the first in India to pioneer new technologies in our quest for empowering Indians everywhere,” said Vittal.
This achievement leaves Airtel hungry to get their hands on true 5G spectrum and permission to launch their 5G network commercially. The regulator has said it plans to auction 3.3 GHz and 3.6 GHz spectrum later this year, though the timeline for this allocation is not clear. At the start of this year, the regulator announced that it would auction further 4G spectrum in March, with spectrum available in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2500MHz frequency bands. 5G, it seems, will have to wait a little longer.
Airtel rival Reliance Jio has previously said that it has plans to rollout commercial 5G in the second half of 2021, using home-grown 5G tech that it has been developing. Earlier this week, Jio said it would be ready to demonstrate its 5G capabilities in the coming months. The company is currently waiting for permission from the Department of Telecommunications to test this new 5G equipment.
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