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India finally gets its 5G testbed

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated a 5G testbed to help operators, startups and other industry players validate products, solutions and prototypes.

"This is a critical step in our Aatmanirbharta (self-reliance) in advanced technology," Prime Minister Modi said during the launch.

"Connectivity will play a pivotal role in the growth of the nation. 5G will help in improving governance, ease of living and ease of doing business in India."

This is the first time that India has come up with a testbed for any communications technology.
 (Source: Nicolas DEBRAY from Pixabay)
This is the first time that India has come up with a testbed for any communications technology.
(Source: Nicolas DEBRAY from Pixabay)

The testbed was initially recommended by a high-level forum in 2017 to "boost innovation and research" in 5G.

Multiple leading institutions have come together to develop it. Led by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, other participants include IIT Bombay, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, the Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER) and the Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT).

The cost to develop the testbed is more than INR2.2 billion (US$28.34 million), according to media reports.

"The testbed will enable a supportive ecosystem for Indian industry and startups which will help them validate their products, prototypes, solutions and algorithms in 5G and next-generation technologies," said the press release issued by the government.


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India plans to conduct a 5G spectrum auction in the coming month, and commercial services are likely to be launched by August 2022. This is the first time India has come up with a testbed for any communications technology.

In 2021, service providers were given 5G spectrum for testing use cases. The testbed is likely to boost the development of 5G use cases and ecosystem in the country.

The date of May 17 was chosen for the launch to commemorate the silver jubilee celebration of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), established in 1997.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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