For years, carriers in India have been criticised for being too slow at upgrading their networks, but that’s changing quickly. As Indian carriers push to bring 4G to the local market, two carriers are already working on getting 5G in place.
Airtel, India’s largest telecom operator by subscribers count (for now) and struggling state-run operator BSNL have signed MoUs (memorandum of understanding) with networking giant Nokia to upgrade existing infrastructure to support 5G.
According to Nokia, it will work with BSNL “to accelerate the development of a 5G ecosystem,” and is looking at how the “extreme high-speed wireless broadband with ultra-low-latency” can be developed in the country to support Internet of Things (IoT) and future smart cities. Nokia and BSNL will be conducting joint 5G demonstrations across India.
Nokia is also partnering with Airtel for this 5G ecosystem development as well. Both players will look at network evolution to 5G, exploring operations, cost-effectiveness, quality and reliability. The partnerships will look at creating a strategy and clear path for the evolution of 5G in India, and the efforts will build on the current 4G networks.
Nokia is setting up a research and development centre in Bengaluru to better understand the requirements of potential 5G stakeholders in the country. “The MoU will help BSNL draw a framework for transition from the current network to futuristic 5G network,” BSNL Chairman Anupam Shrivastava had told PTI in February this year.
Samsung and Reliance Jio have partnered to bring 5G connectivity to India. 5G is expected to be launched in developed countries by 2020, and in India by 2022.