India’s 5G rollout from August this year?

    Telecom secretary K Rajaraman has said that the 5G rollout is expected to begin in August once the auctions are conducted in July. He also illustrated the benefits of using an open radio access network (oRAN) for 5G deployment, adding that C-DoT, the research wing of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), is working on developing an OpenRAN test-bed.

    “The government has announced the 5G spectrum auctions, and the rollout is expected from August this year,” he said, speaking at an industry event on Thursday. The Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the 5G spectrum auctions, accepting the spectrum reserve prices recommended by the telecom regulator, putting up around 72 GHz of airwaves for auction to rollout 5G services in India. The auction is set to take place from July 26.

    Rajaraman said C-DOT is working towards developing an oRAN test-bed. It has signed MoUs in four different formats and hopes that more Indian companies can come onboard this India oRAN alliance to develop India-specific oRAN use cases.

    C-Dot partnered with VVDN and WiSig on June 2, signing an MoU to develop indigenous 5G Open RAN products.

    Private telcos like Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio are also increasingly looking to expand their telecom gear supplier options beyond traditional equipment vendors by using OpenRAN technology. The adoption of OpenRAN technology will help these telcos cut network-related costs and allow them to bring more customization as they upgrade their networks for 5G technology.

    “Every sector has an opportunity to drive new services, new products, and new experiences with 5G. For all this to happen, innovation on the edge has to be supported. Operators will have to evolve and transform to meet this increasing demand by evolving from closed and proprietary legacy architecture to open radio access network that offers interoperability and network flexibility at a lower cost,” Rajaraman said at the OpenRAN India 2022 conference.

    Counting the advantages of an open radio access network, Rajaraman said the technology means an expanded ecosystem with more vendors that will help usher in more innovations and more options for the operators. It also means more market propositions and increases in customer choices. Using OpenRAN architecture will also allow operators to opt for less expensive third-party products.

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