Indian mobile service provider Bharti Airtel demonstrated its Non-Standalone live 5G service the city of Hyderabad over its existing spectrum in the 1.8 GHz band. Airtel used spectrum sharing, allowing the carrier to operate 5G and 4G connections from within the same spectrum block.
Ericsson provided its dynamic spectrum sharing radio infrastructure for the test, while Oppo provided its Reno 5 Pro and the Find X2 Pro smartphones.
“We believe India has the potential to become a global hub for 5G innovation,” commented Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO of Bharti Airtel, adding that the entire ecosystem must “come together” to make it happen.
“We are more than ready to do our bit,” Vittal said.
Airtel claims its 5G network cane deliver “10x speeds with 10x latency and 100x concurrency compared to existing technologies.”
If Airtel’s 5G network is anything like its LTE network, its customers should be excited. In March, Tutela reported that Bharti Airtel’s network is stronger than its rival telecom operators in India in four of the five key tested metrics for the network connectivity. Airtel proved to have the fastest network, achieving a median download speed of 7.4 Mbps, outperforming Reliance Jio, Vodafone Idea and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
In addition, Airtel’s networks showed consistent quality (59.2%) and an impressive latency (26.2 ms) during the period for August 2019 to January 2020. period. The report stated that Airtel’s “excellent consistent quality” is nearly 10% better than Jio and Vodafone Idea, who were neck-and-neck for a second-place title across multiple metrics.
More broadly, it is a good sign that one of India’s largest carriers is making significant 5G progress because, not that long ago, the country was dealing with conflict over high spectrum prices, resulting in auction delays.
The current plan is to auction off bands for 5G usage in 3.3-3.6 GHz bands later this year, after an upcoming 4G auction scheduled for March.
Vittal claimed that as soon as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) allows for the commercial launch of 5G and once mid-band spectrum auctions take place, the carrier will be prepared to roll out next-gen services across several parts of India.
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