Hyderabad gets feel of 5G as Airtel to test tech in city

IT city Hyderabad got a 5G boost with telecom player Bharti Airtel successfully demonstrating live 5G service over a commercial network in the city.

As part of the demonstration, conducted over Airtel’s existing 4G spectrum in the 1800 MHz band, a 5G handset was able to download a full length movie (1GB file) in less than 30 seconds, something that would take around 8-10 minutes on an average 4G connection.

Avneet Singh Puri, CEO, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Bharti Airtel, said that Hyderabad was chosen as it is the IT capital of the country where a lot of work is happening around 5G use cases. In fact, the Hyderabad-based Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology has set up the country’s first 5G use case lab to explore the application of 5G in banking and financial services sector and handset manufacturers like OPPO already have 5G labs in the city.

Airtel said it was able to seamlessly operate 5G and 4G concurrently, within the same spectrum block, with the help of a spectrum sharing technology called NSA (Non Standalone Architecture) network technology. NSA is a 5G service which, as the name suggests, does not stand alone but is built over an existing 4G network, whereas SA (Standalone Architecture) enables independent 5G service operations without any interaction with an existing 4G core.

With this, Airtel has shown that it has the capability to operate 5G over its existing spectrum in the mid-band (1800/2100/2300 MHz) and sub-GHz bands (800/ 900 MHz) and can operate 5G and 4G within the same spectrum block if it is permitted.

While a low band (600-700 MHz) tower can cover a larger area of hundreds of square miles with 5G services at speeds in the range of 30-250 megabits per second (mbps), a mid-band (2.5/3.5 GHz) tower can cover a smaller radius of several miles with 5G service at speeds from 100-900 mbps. On the other hand, a high band (24-39GHz) tower can cover a radius of one-mile or lower while delivering roughly 1-3Gbps speeds. Pointing out that it is ready to deploy 5G in a matter of months, the company said that its existing technology capability along with future spectrum allocations (in 3.5 GHz) will enable it to deliver a full 5G experience.

According to Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel, the demonstration validates the 5G readiness of Airtel’s network across all domains – radio, core and transport. However, he pointed out that the commercial 5G rollout will be possible only after government approvals and when adequate spectrum is available.

“Every one of our investments is future proofed as this game changing test in Hyderabad proves. With Airtel being the first to demonstrate this capability, we have shown again that we have always been the first in India to pioneer new technologies,” he said.

According to the telco, Airtel 5G would be capable of delivering 10x speeds, 10x latency and 100x concurrency as compared to existing technologies.

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