Airtel-Huawei first to test 5G in India, achieves 3Gbps speed


China’s leading smartphone maker Huawei has joined hands with Indian telecoms leader Bharti Airtel major to announce successful testing of their 5G network in a trial conducted at Airtel’s Network Experience Centre in Manesar in Gurugram and is the first 5G test in India.

The companies say the test was successful, obtaining as much as 3Gbps, through the plans by Indian cellular service providers target providing only 1Gbps. The speed is claimed to be ”the highest measured throughput for a mobile network in 3.5 GHz band with 100 MHz bandwidth” and end-to-end network latency of approximately 1 msec.

The country is roaring ahead towards 5G even as its 4G service is reported to be the slowest among 88 nations. The State of LTE, report by OpenSignal puts India in the last spot in terms of 4G speed. Countries like Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka and Algeria are above India (See: India behind Pakistan, Nepal at 109th in mobile broadband speeds).

“This is small but a very significant step in our journey towards 5G. The promise of 5G is endless, it will be a game changer and it will change the way we live, work and engage. We’re moving quickly to begin collaboration towards 5G interoperability and development testing (IODT) based on the 3GPP R15 standards. We look forward to work closely with our partners for developing a robust 5G ecosystem in India,” said Abhay Savargaonkar, director-networks at Bharti Airtel.

The test setup demonstrated high spectral efficiency and potential for diversified services such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) that can be delivered through 5G technology to serve a digitally connected world.

“We have been focusing on developing 5G ecosystem and use cases and the show with Bharti Airtel impressively demonstrates the performance capability of 5G in 3.5 GHz band,” said Emmanuel Coelho Alves, director, wireless marketing, Huawei HQ.

Airtel has also partnered with Ericsson for deploying 5G technology in India. Under the partnership, Ericsson will work with Airtel to create a strategic roadmap to help the telco upgrade its network to next-gen’s 5G network (See: Airtel ties up with Ericsson to explore 5G rollout ). Apart from Ericsson and Huawei, Airtel has also partnered with Nokia for 5G technology. 

With 5G services, Airtel aims to take on Jio that has already stirred the 4G market and is in talks with Samsung to roll out 5G services in India.

Telecoms secretary Aruna Sundararajan recently said the Department of Telecommunications was expected to finalise a roadmap for 5G services by June this year.

The telecom industry is reeling under debt of more than Rs7 lakh crore, mostly due to the onset of Jio, following which the data plans were made cheaper by all operators.

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