BSNL Partnering with ZTE to Launch 5G using 700 MHz band

BSNL

India —

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. is entering into an alliance with Chinese gear maker ZTE, following a similar partnership with Finnish firm Nokia, for 5G services.

BSNL expects to get the government’s approval soon for using airwaves in 700 MHz band for offering 4G services, and 5G services in the future, chairman Anupam Shrivastava said.

The state-run telco has written to the Department of Telecom (DoT) to allocate airwaves in the 700 MHz band for rolling out 4G services.

“Six slots of 5 MHz are already available in the 700 MHz band and we have asked for a slot to be allocated to us. We are looking at it also for offering ultra-high speed 5G services in the future,” Shrivastava said.

The telco is entering into an alliance with Chinese gear maker ZTE, following a similar partnership with Finnish firm Nokia, for 5G services, the BSNL chairman said. “For 5G services in rural and dense urban areas, 700 MHz, sub-700 MHz and unlicensed bands such as 2.5 GHz and 5.2 GHz will be used for Internet of Things (IoT) services in India,” he said.

BSNL plans to soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ZTE under the ‘5G and beyond’ programme, as part of which the latter will provide most recent technological updates and exchange ideas with the telco.

“The alliance (with ZTE) will be non-commercial with no obligations and based on knowledge sharing on what is happening worldwide,” Shrivastava said.

ZTE recently announced doubling of its annual investment in 5G research and development to 2 billion yuan ($295.5 million) from 1 billion yuan last year.

In March, Nokia entered into a similar collaboration with BSNL to leverage its global experience in 5G-related industry initiatives focusing on software defined network (SDN) and multi-access edge computing.

In India, the use case of 5G technology may be different from that in Europe or rest of the world, according to Shrivastava, who said that in Indian cities, Internet of Things (IoT) could prove critical for waste management.

Bharti chairman Sunil Mittal had said last month that 5G would come under aggressive focus and the evolution of 4G to 5G would be led by cross-industry collaboration.

“Globally, by 2020, 5G standardisation will be done including in China, which would lead with some early roll-outs. We expect 5G launch by 2021-22 in the Indian market, which is developing quickly driven by connectivity,” GSMA director general Mats Granryd said.

With India gearing up to adopt 5G technology in tandem with countries such as China, Japan, Korea and the US, telecom minister Manoj Sinha has said that the new technology will speed up the digital transformation in a number of industries, enabling IoT and automation.