India IT firms joining 5G bandwagon with test beds, telco partnerships

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India IT companies are joining the 5G bandwagon by setting up private 5G testbeds to test the technology and develop new solutions. IT companies like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tech Mahindra (TechM) and L&T Technology Services (LTTS) are seeking trial 5G spectrum licenses to begin pilots with Indian telecom operators, which themselves are conducting large scale trials in the country.

These companies are aiming to build 5G solutions and use cases for both domestic and international clients with the help of these test labs.

TCS, India’s largest IT services company, will set up private 5G networks in its campuses over the next six months.

“We are partnering with telcos to build 5G mobile private networks (MPNs). We are experimenting right now with the government because we need some licensed spectrum to try it out. And then, of course, we have to partner with the telcos to make sure we get the radio and all the capability together,” said Kamal Bhadada, business group head, communications, media and information services, at TCS was quoted as saying by the Economic Times.

The report added that IT and engineering services provider LTTS has already established a 5G lab in Bengaluru and is preparing to launch another lab in Mysuru for use cases in medical equipment and manufacturing solutions.

Tech Mahindra, as per the report, has partnered with chip maker Arm to set up an Arm 5G lab, having already established a 5G test bed with Rakuten in Tokyo. Telecom verticals is the largest revenue generator for the company, which serves telcos like AT&T and BT.

Capgemini recently joined hands with Swedish telecom gear maker Ericsson to accelerate the deployment of 5G solutions in India. It deployed the 5G Industry Connect solution from Ericsson at its 5G Lab in Mumbai to enable industry innovation, experimentation and deployment of 5G and Edge technologies for clients across industries.

Capgemini’s 5G Lab in Mumbai will support its global clients in 5G end-to-end transformation by leveraging technologies on network, cloud, edge computing, hardware and software solutions.

Indian telecom operators are also entering into partnerships with various enterprises and startups to test and develop new use cases with the help of trial 5G spectrum in mmWave and mid-bands. They are already conducting 5G trials in various cities.

Bharti Airtel is collaborating with companies such as Accenture, AWS, Cisco, Ericsson, Google Cloud, Nokia and TCS to work with brands such as Apollo Hospitals, Flipkart, and other manufacturing companies to test 5G-based solutions.

Vodafone Idea has partnered with homegrown startups Vizzbee Robotics Solution and Tweek Labs to test 5G-based solutions on aerial traffic management and motion capture systems, having entered into a partnership with Larsen & Toubro for testing and validating smart city solutions based on 5G.

Vodafone Idea had also partnered with Italy’s Athonet to test and develop Industry 4.0 use cases using 5G.

Last month, Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone Idea sought a year’s extension to conduct 5G trials, which if allowed would push the auction of 5G spectrum to the second half of 2022.

Telcos recently urged the telecom regulator, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), to look into the availability, quantum and pricing of all possible 5G bands and their base price ahead of the next round of auctions.

Following their request, India’s telecom department in September sought fresh base prices for 5G and 4G spectrum bands, including 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 3.3-3.6 GHz, 26 GHz and 28 GHz. The DoT has also sought fresh base prices for 4G airwave bands such as 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz.

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