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Ravi Shankar Prasad

Govt will begin trials for 5G within 100 days: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Ravi Shankar Prasad

The much-awaited network trial for 5G services in India will begin within next 100 days, said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communication.

He also said that the next spectrum auctions, which will include 5G airwaves, would be held by the end of the year. The last auction had taken place three years ago.

5G is crucial for digital inclusion and will be used for deprived sectors and social causes, said Prasad to media while taking charge as Minister of Communication. He will also be holding information technology and law and justice portfolio.

Last month, the Telecom Ministry has slated the 5G trail to kick start from June. It recommended spectrum for the test run for incumbent telcos for three months period.

The panel had recommended names of telcos including Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio for a 5G trail run, duration of which can be extended to a year.

Equipment vendors including Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson have got the nod from the panel. Ericsson’s 5G innovation lab is set to shortly begin work on developing new 5G use cases following the telecom department’s intervention to sort out differences between the vendor and IIT-Delhi.

The Telecom department was also about to take a call on Chinese company Huawei if it will be part of the trial.

Post the trail, the spectrum auction is scheduled in October. By then telcos would in position to take a decision on network requirements and shortcomings.

As per an industry estimation, 5G has the potential to enable a $27.3 billion revenue opportunity for Indian telcos in the next seven years.

Besides, he said 5 lakh wifi hotspots, 1 lakh digital villages will be established. The ministry will ensure that the hotspots reach areas that need digital inclusion.

The DoT will also start broadband readiness index to rank states, the Telecom Minister added.

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