Major telcos in India are future proofing their networks by working on the next big thing in the telecom industry, 5G. We had earlier reported that the government of India wants to be a big player in the 5G industry and take adequate steps earlier on in order to not fall behind in the 5G race. Now, major telcos like Airtel, Relieance Jio and more are preparing to introduce massive MIMO technology into their respective networks. The 5G technology is expected to be rolled out by 2020 and the massive MIMO technology is considered to be a key component in enabling 5G.
Massive MIMO, or massive multiple input multiple output, increases capacity of a base station by five to seven times and reduces interference substantially, in turn boosting the transmission signal to the devices. This means that a consumer using voice and data, will get data speed which can be between 30 MBPS and 35 MBPS on average. These speeds can go up to 50MBPS during peak time. Comparatively, depending on one’s 4G data provider and plan, the mobile internet speed varies from 4 MBPS to 16 MBPS on paper.
It is fair to say that 5G data is still a few years away as India has barely adopted 4G in its full capacity. Director of Technology at Vodafone India says:
While 5G is still may be a few years away, we are bringing some of 5G technologies like massive MIMO into 4G and applying them. We are conducting trials of this technology. It is very futuristic in 5G, but we are using it in 4G.
Airtel has already begun the first round of deployment of the technology in Bangalore and Kolkata and will expand to other cities like Pune, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. Reliance Jio on the other hand, is currently running trials of massive MIMO technology with Chinese gear maker ZTE. Idea as well, which now has a pan India 4G network is working on bring massive MIMO technology on 4G in India.
The Indian government has also acknowledged that bringing 5G to India is a priority. For this objective, the ministries of telecom, information and technology, and science and technology have been included in the forum. A budget of Rs 500 crore is set aside for research and development of 5G technology by the government.