State-run telecom company BSNL to deploy 5G Corridor

NEW DELHI: State-controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is planning to come up with a novel ‘5G Corridor’ starting from Delhi’s Lutyens’ area as one of the use cases for newer technology which is likely to make inroads by 2020 in India.

“In Delhi, we are planning a 5G Corridor to showcase the possible use of new technology with the optimum data speed at 5G levels” BSNL chairman Anupam Shrivastava told ETT, adding that the telco is also putting up an in-house test centre.

5G-LTE, according to experts, will drastically improve the mobile Internet, supporting data speeds beyond 1Gbps (Gigabits per second), to reach 20Gbps.

The corridor will start from the Ministry of Communications premise or Sanchar Bhawan at Ashoka Road to BSNL headquarters at Janpath in New Delhi towards the Connaught Place market that has a high footfall, enabling users to stay seamlessly connected with high-speed data network.

The state-run telco is also planning to deploy a 5G test centre in New Delhi to demonstrate use cases of low-latency communication in the areas of healthcare and education, according to Shrivastava.

The fourth-largest telco, in its 5G ambition, has already entered into strategic alliances with Cisco, Ciena, Coriant, Nokia, Samsung, and Japanese SoftBank and NTT, and is actively considering field trials over a period of next one year.

Last year, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has sent a letter to BSNL asking it to initiate 5G technology-based trials, in addition to private players such as Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, also asking them to showcase India-specific use cases.

The top official added that the telco was not leaving any stone unturned to be potentially ready to commercially launch ultra-high speed low latency services, which are though subject to the availability of spectrum.

However, the telecom players and vendors are still awaiting the department to allow 5G radio waves for trial for a long-term basis, despite recommendations from the government-backed 5G-High Level Forum headed by professor AJ Paulraj.

The Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing (WPC), the department’s statutory licensing body has earlier opposed to the allocation of trial airwaves beyond 90 days, which the industry feels would not serve any purpose.

The Narendra Modi-led government is eyeing to launch 5G technology in tandem with matured markets worldwide by 2020, and is encouraging the incumbent carriers and gear makers to collaborate to bring India-specific use cases.

The public sector telco has been so far denied the fourth generation or 4G frequencies by the government, despite intense pressure from BSNL employee unions representing 1.76 lakh workforce, and it is already running 4G pilots over the 3G spectrum in the 2100Mhz band.