India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has set up eight different groups to come up with localised 5G use cases in areas like smart agriculture, smart transport, fintech, smart healthcare, smart grid and industry 4.0 among others. The telecom department has roped in experts from various ministries, start-ups, academia and gear vendors.
Surprisingly, it has also roped in members from Chinese gear vendor Huawei to some of these working groups. This comes at a time when the vendor is going through a heightened scrutiny in the country amid security concerns raised against the Chinese equipment supplier globally.
Huawei members are part of fintech and smart transportation groups, a DoT notification revealed.
“The objective is to conduct a study and to produce a report with actionable points which brings out the use of 5G Mobile Technology in the respective sector and how global use cases of 5G Mobile Technology in this sector can be utilized and adapted to the Indian requirements,” the DoT said in its notification.
Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm, Dell and Rohde and Schwarz have also joined some of these groups to share their global 5G expertise and will help these groups in localising some of the 5G use cases as per the Indian requirements. Reliance Jio’s parent Reliance Industries Limited has also joined one of the groups.
The department is separately working on 5G field trials in the country having invited applications from all four telecom operators.
All operators have given their preference in terms of vendor partners for 5G trials. Jio recently named Samsung, Nokia, and Ericsson as priority partners for trials and had also applied for trials using its own technology.
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea selected Nokia and Ericsson as priority partners for trials. Interestingly, Vodafone Idea replaced Huawei with US-based Mavenir to conduct trials in the Delhi circle.
Notably, Nokia and Ericsson have said that 5G technology is already mature enough at the global level and Indian telecom operators can jump to commercial roll-out of the high-speed technology.
India is expected to hold auctions for 4G spectrum in January-March 2021 period. 5G auctions could take place in the second half of 2021, as per various media reports.
The DoT has assigned the Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) to spearhead the efforts for exploring the application of 5G mobile technology in the Indian context. TEC, which is DoT’s standardization body, will have its members in all eight working groups.
“The 5G Mobile Technology is a much talked about subject these days across the world as an enabler for various solutions in diverse fields like smart water management, intelligent traffic system, smart utility networks, smart agriculture, smart cities etc. In India too, there is a lot of focus on smart infrastructure development such as the national smart grid mission, smart cities mission, which includes smart waste management, smart water supply etc.,” the DoT said in a notification.
The department said that it will need a larger pool of experts, who may bring-in industry-specific perspectives.