Airtel Conducts India's First Rural 5G Trial In Partnership With Ericsson

Bharti Airtel said the 5G trial demonstrated a network coverage of over 10 kilometers through a single 5G site with both FWA and mobile devices

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Bharti Airtel on Tuesday informed the stock exchanges that it has conducted India’s first 5G trial in BhaipurBramanan village, located on the outskirts of the Delhi-NCR region.

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Earlier, the department of telecom (DoT) has kicked off the process for 5G technology by allocating airwaves to telcos. The DoT has allocated a spectrum to telecom operators in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, and other areas.

The 5G site infrastructure was powered by Ericsson’s 3GPP-compliant 5G radio. The trial was carried out by utilizing the allocated mid-band trial spectrum in the 3,500 MHz bands and existing FDD spectrum band.

“5G will be a transformational technology when it comes to delivering broadband coverage to the last mile through use cases like FWA and contribute to a more inclusive digital economy. Airtel will continue to be at the forefront of 5G technology and bring more India relevant use cases through partnerships such as the one with Ericsson," said Randeep Singh Sekhon, chief technology officer, Airtel.

During the demonstration, over 200 Mbps throughput was clocked on 3GPP-compliant 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) device at a distance of over 10 kilometers from the site.

"This translated into an inter-site (between two 5G sites) coverage of approximately 20 kilometers, thus offering the ability to provide high-speed broadband coverage even in the remotest of geographies," Airtel said in a filing.

"As part of the trial, even a commercially available 3GPP-based 5G smartphone was able to connect to the 5G test network and record over 100 Mbps speeds at a distance of over 10 km from the site," it noted.

Ericsson is one of the leading providers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to telecom operators. Its comprehensive service portfolio ranges across networks, digital services, emerging businesses, powered by 5G and IoT platforms.

"The results of the trial demonstrate Airtel’s capability to enable 5G for both capacity and coverage over its existing nationwide 4G infrastructure," the company shared.

Over the past few months, Airtel and Ericsson have partnered to demonstrate a speed of more than 1 Gbps on a live 5G network set up at cyber hub in Gurgaon using Airtel's 3,500 MHz trial spectrum.

Earlier in January this year, the two companies also showcased Ericsson spectrum sharing capabilities on a commercially deployed installed base of 1,800

MHz liberalized frequencies in Hyderabad to give consumers their first experience of 5G from a live commercial network.